Police Jury renews solid waste contract

Progressive Waste Solutions to receive $2.27M per year


   Progressive Waste Solutions will continue to provide the parishwide solid waste collection and disposal services for the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury for at least the next five years.
The 5-year contract was recently signed, to become effective Jan. 1. The new contract is about $258,000 a year higher than the 5-year pact that expires Dec. 31.
The contract pays Progressive $189,531 a month --- $2,274,373 a year -- to pick up garbage for 17,980 residential and small commercial customers. The current contract pays Progressive $2,017,356 a year.
   In addition to the per-unit cost, the Police Jury also pays for collection and disposal of waste deposited in large dumpsters located at the Parish Barn.
The Police Jury had discussed the possibility of splitting the solid waste program into three contracts -- collection, hauling and disposal -- rather than continuing with an all-in-one contract. 
   Jurors ran out of time to fully implement those plans and also lacked up-front funding necessary to construct a waste transfer station -- a key element in the three-part program -- to enable that idea to move forward before the current contract expires. Jurors are still interested in pursuing a transfer station at some point in the future. They believe that program would be less expensive than the current system.
   The recently signed contract expires Dec. 31, 2021, but contains a provision allowing it to be extended for another five years after that if both parties agree.
   Police Jury President Charles Jones said the monthly price per unit offered by Progressive was about $2 cheaper than the closest quote the parish received from other potential service providers.
Based on service units
   The contract is based on service units and not on waste tonnage. The contract estimates the number of units in the parish at 17,980 -- 4,050 in the municipalities of Marksville and Bunkie and 13,930 in the rest of the parish.
   Customers in Marksville and Bunkie will still receive two pickups a week while others will receive once-a-week collection. The Marksville/Bunkie units cost the parish about $11.99 each because of the twice weekly schedule. Other units cost $10.12. 
   The Police Jury did get a guarantee that Progressive will use a “satellite” truck to serve customers on roads that the large garbage trucks cannot safely travel.
   The contract also includes a provision stating that Progressive cannot be required to provide service if a road becomes impassable. However, the jury will require the company to notify the jury if such a condition exists and to collect garbage at the nearest point possible.
   The contract does include a provision requiring Progressive “to maintain an office and authorized managing agent through which contractor can be contacted,” but does not specify the office must be in Avoyelles Parish.
‘Local phone number’
   It does require that office to have a “local phone number” for customers to use to call with complaints or questions. It also requires the company to have sufficient staff in the office to handle complaints between the hours of  8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on work days.
   Progressive must operate a minimum of five full-sized garbage trucks and one satellite vehicle five days a week, except on approved holidays.
   The parishwide solid waste program is funded through a 1-percent sales tax  that roughly generates $4 million a year. Three-fourths of the tax revenue is dedicated to the solid waste program while one-fourth is dedicated to parishwide road and bridge repairs and maintenance.
   Police Jury Secretary/ Treasurer Jamey Wiley said the parishwide sales tax collections have been down this year, so the year-end total will probably be less than $4 million.