OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A new garbage contract could cause sticker shock for Oakland residents. The city is recommending the council approve a new contract with Waste Management that would increase fees by 50 percent.
Oakland resident Phil Domic was stunned to find out his trash fees might be about to spike. “I think that they’re gouging and I think that there’s a lot of dealing down there at City Hall,” he told KPIX 5.
City Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney said, “A price increase was to be expected. But to say we’re shocked by 50 percent would be an understatement.”
Gibson-McElhaney said she isn’t so sure that the bidding process for the contract was fair. City officials spent three years and $1 million in consulting fees and only garnered two bidders.
Waste Management was one of the bidders. “We believe that we have a structured a deal that is a win-win for Waste Management, the City of Oakland, and the surrounding communities,” company spokesperson David Tucker told the council.
The other bidder was California Waste Solutions. Owner David Duong said he offered the city a 10-year proposal that is $5 million cheaper than Waste Management’s bid.
“That’s like $60, 70 million savings to taxpayers in Oakland,” Duong said.
Duong claims he was shut out of part of the process. “We should have been treated fairly and we were not. And so it has to be that something is going behind the scenes,” he said.
Gibson-McElhaney also said council members were shut out. “What the staff had conceived as a process that they called the ‘cone of integrity’ felt to me like a cone of secrecy,” she said.
The council has 30 days to make a decision about Waste Management’s contract, or risk having no one to pick up Oakland’s trash by next year.
The new contract would go into effect in July of 2015.