Squabbling trustees OK $11 million waste contract
Jun 1, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
During a 3-1/2 hour meeting punctuated with heated arguments and raised voices, members of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees last week created a new $60,000 parks position, awarded a seven-year, $11 million waste hauling contract and approved the addition of a part-time assistant in the clerk’s office.
After heated debate among the board members, the contract for solid waste disposal was awarded to Rizzo Environmental Services.
Engineer Patrick Felrath said the township had solicited bids from five vendors for the residential refuse, recycling and yard waste services contract with Duncan Disposal System, Inc. that expires in October. Felrath recommend that Rizzo Environment Services which he said “appeared to be” the lowest bidder for each of three service options be awarded the new contract. He outlined the first service option as the same as that provided by Duncan and options two and three were for automated applications utilizing large wheeled containers. Township Treasurer Ron Edwards agreed with Felrath reiterating that Rizzo was the low bidder and arguing for the immediate award of the contract to the company.
Trustee Chuck Curmi suggested postponing or tabling the decision based the complexity of choices and not knowing if residents would want to keep status quo services they currently have in place or pay for the automated service.
“Can we wait until we sort this out…I don’t think we have to be in a hurry,” Curmi said.
Edwards reiterated that Rizzo was the low bidder and insisted the contract be immediately awarded to them.
In one of several heated exchanges, Trustee Bob Doroshewitz questioned the number of resident homes that would need containers and questioned who would own the containers and maintain them. He was told there are 8,600 homes in the township that would be affected and the per annum cost per home for the automated service would be $180.
The seven-year contract would cost taxpayers approximately $10,836,000.
A contentious proposed motion to amend the 2015 General Fund Budget to add the new parks director also caused tempers to flare during the meeting. Edwards has been acting as the parks supervisor since 2010.
Doroshewitz noted that the $60,000 a year job was actually a $100,000 a year job when benefits were factored in and that if the job lasted for 25 years the board was making a $2.5 million decision.
He criticized the job description for the park job noting that the new director will report to the township supervisor and act as “township representative.” He said that while he felt the position was probably necessary, he could find no justification whatsoever for the position in the materials supplied to the board. He said that the claim that Edwards had saved the township “hundreds of thousands of dollars” included in the resolution language was not verified by any of the auditors’ reports he had received. The parks job requirements were limited to an individual with a four-year degree in engineering, a valid drivers license and the possession of “interpersonal and communication skills necessary to interact with the public, staff and outside agency personnel” along with grant writing experience. During discussion, Township Supervisor Shannon Price said it was clear the position was needed.
“There was confusion…who was in charge of the park and who wasn’t in charge of the park,” Price said.
Doroshewitz said he agreed that a director was needed but said the job description and qualifications presented did not meet the experience necessary to manage the township parks.
Price responded that the grant-writing facet of the job description, if successful, would pay for the new director. Edwards also stressed the grant-writing portion of the qualifications for the position which would be that of a department director.
The new job was created by a 4-2 vote of the board with Trustee Mike Kelly absent.
The administrative assistant position in the clerk’s office will include 15-20 hours weekly with a wage of $18.47 per hour. The job was approved in the same amendment as the new parks director position.
Some residents remarked they felt that the ambiguity in the parks director job description didn’t include any of the key elements for a park warden or park superintendent. Critics said Price had a pre-selected candidate in mind who fit the job description but who would serve, in reality, as a functional deputy for the supervisor.