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Lathrop officials find loyalty with a garbage firm pays big time
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LATHROP – Loyalty pays. The Lathrop City Council just saw that happen last week when the elected officials unanimously approved to extend its contract with the same company that has been hauling the city’s garbage since 2004.

By doing so, they not only saved the taxpayers $75,000 to $100,000 for the process of opening the services to bid but they also gained some cost-savings and other monetary perks for students at all four Lathrop campuses – one high school and three elementary schools – plus higher rate discounts for senior residents.

The resolution approved by the council members gave Allied Waste Corporation (formerly Sunrise Sanitation) not just a one-year but a five-year extension of its contract with the city.

Below are the highlights of the new contract:

• Rate discounts for residents who are senior citizens will be bumped from 10 percent to 20 percent.

• Allied Waste will make available scholarships for each of the four schools in the city – Lathrop High, Lathrop Elementary, Joseph Widmer Jr. Elementary, and Mossdale Elementary.

• No rate increases if the economy remains stagnant as it is currently, or no more than 4 percent increases depending on the Consumer Price Index fluctuations.

“In addition, even though there is no increase in the service charge, there will be an increase in services,” Council member Robert Oliver said in an interview Thursday night from Ventura in Southern California where he is still recuperating from a full-hip replacement surgery. He took part in the council meeting discussions via teleconference, as did Mayor Kristy Sayles.

They will pick up piles that are not normally collected during regular garbage collection days without extra charge 18 times a year, and “they also offered to pick up e-waste giving more service for us with no increase in fees starting the first of July. To me, that’s hard to beat,” Oliver said.

However, he explained, “There’s a possibility there will be an increase in Consumer Price Index,” in which case the rates will go up. But, he said, “the contract says the rate increase cannot exceed four percent. If the CPI goes up 2 percent, the (garbage) rates will increase 2 percent; if there is no CPI increase, the rate doesn’t increase. So we’re getting more bang for our buck.”

Oliver added, “I think we did a good job in choosing Allied Waste – good service, good company, good contract. I think it’s unbeatable.”

Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal wholeheartedly agreed.

“Allied Waste’s rates are much better,” he said.

“In the previous contract, the seniors were getting a 10 percent discount. With the new (contract) I asked for 20 percent, and they (Allied Waste) said OK. They were also offering one scholarship for $750 for Lathrop High School, and (Vice Mayor) Martha Salcedo it should be for all school, and they also said OK,” added Dhaliwal.

By turning down the option of opening the contract to other waste-collection companies, the city saved $75,000 to $100,000 which would have been needed to go through the process of asking for Request for Proposals, Oliver and Dhaliwal said.

At a previous meeting, the mayor favored opening the bidding to see if the city could get a better deal from another company which resulted in the decision being moved to the next meeting. At that meeting, a representative of one company that was interested in putting up a bid addressed the council and gave an overview of his company.

But Dhaliwal said, “We looked at the rates of other cities that they serve and they are higher than what we are paying (with Allied Waste), so why waste $100,000 on a Request for Proposal?”

Besides, he added, “They don’t offer any senior discounts and their (garbage) pick-up is once every two weeks; ours is once a week (with  Allied Waste). So this is a much better deal.”

“Sunrise Sanitation (now Allied Waste) has been hauling my trash for the 15 years I’ve been in Lathrop. The fact is, our present trash-hauling fee is cheaper than anything in the valley with the exception of Galt” which is served by another company, Oliver said.