Company strikes back at agency’s trash talk

Trash talking persisted Thursday between the waste-management company serving central and southern San Mateo County and the oversight agency that has recommended dumping the garbage hauler.

Allied Waste, the nation’s second largest waste-management company, currently collects garbage and recyclables for as many as 100,000 households and businesses in cities as far north as Burlingame to as far south as East Palo Alto. The company inherited the trash-hauling contract several years ago, when it bought out a previous provider. Its current contract ends in 2010.

In recent years, however, relations have soured between Allied Waste and the South Bayside Waste Management Authority, the agency tasked with overseeing trash-hauling services in the region. SBWMA officials have suggested that Allied Waste is mismanaged, offers outdated services and monopolizes rates.

On Wednesday, a committee commissioned by the SBWMA recommended against renewing Allied Waste’s contract in 2010, saying the county would be better served if the 10-year contract is awarded to rival Norcal Waste Systems, a San Francisco-based firm.

It was the first time a waste-hauling contract has been put out to bid, the agency said.

The contract with Norcal would be slightly more expensive, but the agency would offer better recycling and composting services, and would be more efficient than the services Allied currently offers, according to committee members. Most homeowners paying $15 to $20 per month on trash-collection bills will pay $2 or $3 more per month for NorCal’s service.

On Thursday, Allied struck back with a statement urging San Mateo County officials to reconsider an alternative proposal it presented to the agency. The alternative would save the county $54 million over the life of the 10-year contract, or about $524 per household.

“What we’re saying to the board and elected officials is, for the sake of your ratepayer, please consider this other alternative because it may be a lower cost solution,” said Evan Boyd, Allied’s executive director.

SBWMA officials, however, said Allied’s alternative proposal did not meet the agency’s guidelines of full cost disclosure. Kevin McCarthy, the agency’s executive director, accused the company of flaunting dubious cost-saving figures in the media as a way to undermine the committee’s selection process.

“They’re trying to make it seem like there’s some fantastic idea that we’re refusing to consider,” McCarthy said. “They didn’t comply with the requirements, so their alternative proposal was essentially thrown out.”

At its meeting Thursday, the SBWMA board will decide whether to approve the committee’s recommendation to enter into a contract with Norcal. The eight San Mateo County cities and the county’s Board of Supervisors will then vote on a new contract in the fall.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Allied WasteBay Area NewsLocal

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