City Postpones Decision on Solid Waste Provider

By George Slaughter

Citing unanswered questions caused in part by incomplete paperwork, the Katy City Council Monday postponed a decision to offer a contract to a solid waste service provider.

The council directed city staff to come back with more information by the next council meeting, set for July 27. The current solid waste contract, with Republic Services, expires August 31.

The city earlier this year organized a sanitation committee to explore its options on solid waste providers and services. City administrator Byron Hebert led the committee. Hebert said the committee’s goals were to increase services, with a less confusing schedule, at lower cost.

Also serving on the committee were Public Works Director Elaine Lutringer, City Secretary Becky McGrew, Finance Director Andrew Vasquez, Utility Billing Supervisor Theresa Scates, City Planner Anas Garfaoui, senior administrative assistant Milena Rucker, and administrative assistant Sarah Storts.

In March, the city surveyed Katy residents to solicit feedback on whether citizens were satisfied with current services, the waste pickup schedules, and whether they would be willing to pay for more services.

Lutringer said 6,370 surveys were mailed to residents, and 2,549 responses were received, a 40% response rate. Of these responses, she said 78% were satisfied with their service. She said 78% were satisfied with the service. But, she said, 71% said they were not willing to pay more for more services.

Using this information, the city issued a request for proposals which were received until May 20. Six companies submitted proposals, which were reviewed and scored, with references checked. Qualifed proposers were interviewed before the results were submitted Monday to the council.

Proposals were scored as follows:

  • Customer service/public education, 25 points
  • Fee/schedule, 80 points
  • Project methodology, 30 points
  • Qualifications and experience, 50 points
  • Service yard/facilities/equipment, 15 points

The committee recommended Monday that the city adopt a service schedule in which garbage, recycling, and heavy trash would all be picked up weekly, and super heavy trash picked up quarterly. This would be a change from the current service schedule of garbage picked up once a week, recycling and heavy trash pickup twice a month, and super heavy trash being picked up quarterly.

Another option considered but rejected by the committee was garbage pickup twice a week, recycling and heavy trash pickup once a week, and super heavy trash pickup quarterly.

Based on this criteria and evaluation, the committee came back with Republic Services and Texas Pride as having comparable proposals. But council members expressed concerns about Republic’s rates, which had gone up in recent months and were now being quoted at a reduced rate. They also expressed concern with not seeing three years of audited financial reports from Texas Pride, which were part of the original request for proposal. So the matter will be addressed again at the next council meeting.

In other action, the council:

  • Reviewed the city’s bank statement and check register through May 31.
  • Granted three-month extensions for two final plat approvals, and six-month extensions for two other final plat approvals, for the Young Ranch subdivision.