The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 16, 2013

Council moves forward with possible outsourcing of solid waste services

CLINTON — City officials are one step closer to developing a request for proposal (RFP) for solid waste services for the city of Clinton.

In an attempt to reduce solid waste fees for residents, the Clinton City Council has worked with employees and department heads to figure out a way to save money for garbage disposal.

One way the city has decided that can be done is to contract the job out to private disposal companies and select the lowest bidder.

At a City Council meeting Tuesday, a first draft of the RFP was presented by City Administrator Jessica Kinser, who asked the council to look over the 20-page draft and pick out pieces it likes and pieces it doesn't like.

"I'm not expecting by the end of the night for us to have something ready to go," Kinser said. "This is just an opportunity for you to give feedback on the first draft."

One idea the council discussed at length was whether the city would issue a mandatory disposal fee.

If the city decides that is what it wants, then every eligible resident will pay a fee and will have the option to use the service if they so choose. Residents could choose to hire their own service, but they still will be required to pay that fee.

The question of the city's intent on issuing the RFP also came up at Tuesday's meeting, when Mayor Mark Vulich asked the council why it was discussing the possibility.

"My question is, is our intent to one, just flat out get out of the garbage business or two, to find the best deal for our citizens?" Vulich asked

Kinser assured the council and Vulich that the RFP is designed to look out for the best interest of the city and its residents.

"We are doing this as a managed competiton," Kinser said. "I think the goal will be trying to find the best price for the residents, as opposed to getting out of it altogether."

The next step for the council will be to organize several work sessions to break down each portion of the RFP and decide which parts it would like to keep and which parts are unnecessary, with the hope that a final RFP will be issued no later than spring.

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