Yorktown residents will have their garbage picked up by a new garbage collector – Competition Carting – owned by Yorktown resident Brian Amico, starting Jan. 1, 2013.
Town board members voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept the $2.49 million bid, which was the lowest out of four bids that were opened on Oct. 1. The second lowest bidder for the job at $2.98 million was Yorktown's previous garbage collector CRP Sanitation Inc.
The discussion about whether or not Amico was qualified as a "responsible" bidder and whether he could do the job drew criticism from residents and members of CRP Sanitation Inc., who attended the meeting at Town Hall.
"Garbage is very important to people," Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace said. "There is discomfort when you go from someone you're used to dealing with to someone new."
Yorktown Town Board members adopted a "best value" law in June, 2012 to allow for flexibility in awarding bids in the event board members felt the lowest bid didn’t provide the "best value." In addition, town board members changed the language in its bid specifications to allow a chance to companies with no experience or less than 10 years experience to bid on the job.
"We bid this bid with the absolute intention to have a start up [company]," Grace said. "It allows for competition that otherwise would not have been [created] under the old spec."
By switching to another garbage collector, Yorktown is saving about $800,000 – with the difference between the two lowest bidders being $500,000. Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco said the savings would translate to about $70 a year per household.
Amico, the owner of Competition Carting, is a licensed broker who has a number of "subscription residential" contracts in Putnam Valley and has not serviced residential routes through a municipal contract, according to the town's Environmental Conservation Department Recycling Coordinator Kim Angliss-Gage.
Amico, who currently has four employees and five trucks, said he needs 12 employees and eight trucks to do the job, which means he will hire eight more people to work for him and buy three more trucks.
In a letter to town board members, Angliss-Gage expressed concerns that Amico's company would be starting from scratch and would need to get everything in place in 10 weeks. She wrote:
I am not confident that any new firm could put together the necessary fleet and manpower to manage the Town of Yorktown’s residential routes in only a 10-week period. Therefore, my primary concern is if Competition Carting was awarded the contract and failed, how we would provide the service? The Town could certainly cancel the contract and would, eventually,receive the Performance Bond.
Nevertheless, the responsibility to provide the uninterrupted collection and disposal service of kitchen refuse and recyclables to the residents of Yorktown would fall on the Environmental Conservation Department. Unlike with other projects, we would have to be prepared to take-over the collection service the very next day.
However, Amico assured Yorktown town board members that he can do the job.
"I have a vested interest in this town," Amico said. "I've lived here my whole life. I know multiple, multiple residents in this town. If I miss a stop – that's my friend I've missed, that's maybe somebody's mother I've missed."
He will have until Jan. 1, 2013 – when he begins work – to get everything in order – hire more employees, buy additional trucks and get his financing. Amico was also asked by town board members whether he had the finances to do the job. He sad he could get the finances only after the bid was awarded to him.
Out of good faith, Amico also said he would put up a sixth-month performance bond for $500,000.
Amico said he wants to implement new ideas to shorten the time and labor costs, pointing out that he could do it cheaper because he doesn't have the same overhead as CRP Sanitation, which has 570 employees. According to a CRP Sanitation employee the company had collecting garbage from 10,000 residential homes in Yorktown with 19 employees and 10 trucks.
"We're not talking about brain surgery here," Amico said. "We're talking about garbage."
Following a discussion in closed executive session between town board members and Town Attorney Jeannette Koster, the board unanimously accepted Amico's bid.
Bianco said he wasn't comfortable with the decision but town board members could not legally reject the lowest bidder who had met all of the requirements.
"We have no other choice, legally," he said. "I hope that he succeeds. I really do hope that he does succeed. If he doesn't, then we got a problem – a major problem. We made this problem ourselves by putting in this bid document 'no experience.' And I voted for it. I made a mistake and I will admit that was a big mistake."
The rest of the town board members also explained their decision to vote in favor of awarding the bid – citing that legally they could not reject the bid.
Grace said he wished the "best of luck" to the town's newest garbage collector.
"It's not going to make everyone happy," he said. "It's not an easy decision. We hope it works out for the best."
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