Bradenton Beach commissioners are collecting bids as they consider whether to hire out trash collection or maintain a city-staffed service.
The move to seek bids — made Jan. 20 — comes with growing concern about the cost of operating a city solid-waste collection program. Commissioners and Mayor Bob Bartelt are concerned that both sanitation trucks will need to be replaced this year at a cost of more than $400,000.
That expense can be offset by an increase in sanitation fees, an increase in assessments or the outsourcing of solid-waste collection, Bartelt said.
Meeting at city hall, commissioners and Bartelt reviewed a request for proposals drafted by city attorney Ricinda Perry.
The RFP invites businesses to bid on solid-waste and yard-waste services for both residential and commercial customers. Last year, the city commission voted to hire WastePro to collect recycling and is near finalizing a contract with the company.
The city wants to know from bidders their per-resident price for once-a-week solid-waste collection, as well as the cost to collect bundled yard waste per residence and to collect solid waste per business.
Bids, Perry said, will detail customer-service programs and experience; identify references and equipment capabilities; and list any business changes in recent years, such as bankruptcies or mergers or court proceedings.
The city would require the company to handle billing services and provide a monthly tonnage report.
City staff will hold a meeting with prospective bidders to answer questions and to explain how the current service operates.
Commissioner Gay Breuler stressed, “At this proposed meeting, really emphasize that we have indeed a spoiled clientele, and we’d like to keep them spoiled as much as possible.”
Public works director Tom Woodard accepted that task. “I’ve heard from more than a few citizens … their concerns,” he said.
Commissioners said once they receive bids, which are due at noon Feb. 28, they could compare costs with the current city service.
“We’re going to look at it both ways,” said Commissioner Jan Vosburgh.
“Right,” Woodard said. “We’re just trying to find out which is the better way to go financially.”
Perry observed that the RFP contains an “escape clause” if the city opts not to accept any bids.
In other business Jan. 20, commissioners:
• Approved payment of a $7,440 invoice for auditing services from Christopher, Smith, Leonard, Bristow and Stanell.
• Approved payment of a $5,187 invoice from M.T. Causley for building department services in December.
• Approved a special event application for the sixth annual Bass 4 Bucks Redfish Tournament on June 4 at Coquina Beach.
• Approved a special event application for the Bridge Street Beach to Bay Eco Day from noon to 8 p.m. March 27.
• Approved a $3,848 quote from Anthony’s in Bradenton to replace the city hall air-conditioner, which “has finally drawn its last breath,” according to city clerk Nora Idso.
Idso presented the commission with three quotes: from Anthony’s, which offered a 10-year warranty; $3,703 from West Coast Air Conditioning and Heating in Holmes Beach, which offered a five-year warranty; and $3,490 from Air & Energy from Holmes Beach, which offered a five-year warranty.
• Re-appointed former Commissioner William Shearon to the planning and zoning board and the managed anchorage and mooring committee.
• Re-appointed Rick Curd to the managed anchorage and mooring committee.
• Approved requests for Bartelt, Police Lt. John Cosby and public works director Tom Woodard to attend the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale May 15-20.
• Approved the mayor’s request that the capital improvements committee headed by Cosby be assigned the task of coordinating beautification of the city gateway at Cortez Road and Gulf Drive.
The gateway project had been steered by the advisory ScenicWAVES committee. Bartelt informed committee members earlier in January that he wanted to work on the project with the CIP committee in an effort to accelerate the work pace.
• Applauded two citizens, Ronald Luckerman and David Borin, who helped in the apprehension of a burglary suspect Jan. 5.