Martin County will negotiate Waste Management's $20 million garbage bid, trying to trim 23% hike

Sade M. Gordon Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 6:51 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020MARTIN COUNTY — The cost of garbage

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MARTIN COUNTY — The cost of garbage pickups could be going up nearly 23%, but county officials will try to get a better deal from their longtime contractor, Waste Management.

The County Commission Tuesday considered bids from three hauling companies: FCC Environmental Services, Waste Pro and Waste Management, which currently has the county's contract.

But instead of accepting Waste Management's bid — $1.85 per pickup, an increase from the current $1.51 — county commissioners voted 4-1 to negotiate with Waste Management in an effort to cut a better deal.

Based on price, the county staff had recommended commissioners accept FCC's offer of $15.7 million for waste collection. Waste Management's $20.7 million offer was the most expensive among the three bids, according to the county's selection committee. 

When it came to general qualifications, past performance and resources, Waste Management was the first choice.

"It's probably one of those things that we all take for granted," said Commissioner Doug Smith of Waste Management's service. "But if it changes and if we don’t do it right, we have let down our community." 

More: How Treasure Coast waste companies are handling the extra trash because of COVID-19

Most speakers during public comment were in favor of Waste Management getting the continuing contract. Representatives of all three companies insisted they were the best choice.

"When you think about the (customers)… there’s a significant price increase," said Dan Brazil, FCC's director of collection services, before Tuesday's meeting.

Commissioner Stacey Hetherington cast the lone vote against negotiating with Waste Management for a better deal. 

"I have the utmost respect for Waste Management," she said. "I just don't agree that that follows the integrity of the (bidding) process."
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