BY BUDDY NEVINS
Weston Mayor Eric Hersh made a last-minute plea to approve the county’s $1 billion, no-bid deal for waste disposal that he negotiated.
Hersh warned commissioners that the contract had to be signed before the end of December, or it would be renegotiated. Commissioners are not scheduled to meet again in December.
Acting after Browardbeat.com published a call from Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan to reject the current deal, Hersh predicted that any new negotiations would result in county taxpayers paying more for waste disposal.
The no-bid deal was hammered together by the little-known county Resource Recovery Board with Hersh handling the negotiations.
Hersh and County Commission Ilene Lieberman argue that the negotiations did not result in a no-bid deal because they took “requests for indication of interest from 25 firms. Browardbeat.com and Browardbulldog.org both reported that this process did not include taking firm bids to compare with renewing the current contract.
After seeing the “indications of interest, the county board decided on its own to sign a new contract with Waste Management rather than take bids.
Hersh told commissioners that the no-bid contract renegotiated with Waste Management would save taxpayers $400-500 million. He did not mention that the contract is filled with potential increases in costs and that it could last 20 years, when the current waste disposal technologies will probably be outdated.
Everybody agrees that the current contract to dispose waste at two county-funded plants one in Davie and another off Florida’s Turnpike in North Broward was a bad agreement. Cities are paying approximately double to burn waste at the county plants compared to the cost of hauling it to a landfill.
The current contract expires in 2013.
Commissioners heard Hersh’s short comments and moved the debate to January.
It appears now that every city will have to reconsider where their waste haulers will dispose of trash after 2013.
Mayor Richard Kaplan of Lauderhill wrote a comment on Browardbeat.com earlier Tuesday that their city received its cheapest bid for hauling which didn’t use the county’s facilities, which seems to contradict Hersh’s statement to commissioners.