Markle council’s bidding snafu

In a special meeting via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 4, Markle Town Council discussed issues surrounding the town’s garbage collection contract.

According to town attorney Mike Hartburg, council solicited bids for trash and recycling services in November of 2020. The town received two bids from contractors who are “well known in the field of solid waste collection” and council reviewed those bids, ultimately selecting the bid that appeared to be “the lowest responsible bid.”

Since that time, after an exchange of information among both companies that council received bids from, it was clarified that the bid made by Waste Management was misunderstood by council.

“I think council understood Waste Management’s bid to be a bid for one year with two one-year options, when in fact it was a bid for three years,” Hartburg said.

During the Zoom meeting, Hartburg recommended that council “take its authority and use [it] to reject all bids received and instead solicit new bids.”

Council president Aaron McClary and council members Nicolas Lund and Matthew Doss had limited comments about the situation. All three shared opinions of agreement with the option of rejecting bids.

“I thinkt he opportunity to re-bid is the appropriate step here,” Doss said.

Lund did share that he felt there was “quite a bit of misunderstanding” and hoped that the re-bidding process would bring about extra clarity.

McClary motioned to use the available option of re-bidding the trash and recycling services for the town of Markle. The motion was seconded by Doss and the motion carried without opposition.

Because the re-bidding process would take place after the initial contract would end, council was able to come to an agreement with Waste Management. The short-term agreement would mean the town was provided with solid waste removal services effective Monday, Jan. 4, through the end of March.

“This would provide the town with ample opportunity to get bids in and to get a new contract in place before that three-month period is up,” Hartburg said.

Doss noted that the short-term agreement was not an extension of their current agreement, but rather a new contract altogether. McClary said that this short-term contract was an option because the short-term contract would fall under the $25,000 amount threshold “that would require a bid process.”

According to McClary, when it comes to the cost associated with the contract, “the cost is incurred by the town of Markle and not passed on to residents, as [it is] a service provided by the town.”

A note made by Lund is that town residents who were expecting a new trash or recycling bin come 2021 will have to wait until the re-bidding process is complete.

With no further discussion to be had about the short-term contract, McClary motioned to enter into he short-term service agreement with Waste Management. The motion was seconded by Doss and passed unanimously.

During the limited public questions and comments section of the meeting, Lund mentioned that there were several items that were unclear about the bid process that both residents and council members would need additional understanding on in the future. Lund requested that specifics for trash bid solicitation be added to town codes so that it would be further clarified what council was bidding for and what services and products would be received by residents.

With no further discussion, comments or questions, the meeting adjourned.