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Houston Controller Signs Off on Recycling Deal, but City Council Delays Vote

The city controller cited an ‘unusual’ amount of secrecy surround the deal.

Houston City Controller Chris Brown sent his certification letter to the mayor and city council members on the city’s proposed $37 million recycling contract with Spanish firm FCC, but the council opted to postpone the vote on the deal anyway during its last meeting of the year.

Last week Brown said his office would not sign off on the city’s proposed 20-year, $37 million recycling deal with FCC. But he reversed course a week later.

Three weeks ago, Houston City Council members questioned the length and price of the contract since it changed numerous times.

In July, the council delayed a vote on a proposed $48 million, 20-year recycling contract with FCC Environmental. This action followed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s recent decision to turn down EcoHub’s One Bin project, despite the fact that Houston was poised to become the pilot city for EcoHub.

According to Houston’s ABC affiliate, “At least two council members have complained about the wording of the request, more have complained about the scoring matrix that graded each company and the city controller cited an ‘unusual’ amount of secrecy surround the deal.”

ABC13 has more:

Tuesday, a representative from Waste Management, bid for the project, said despite that company's current role in the city and being the largest recycler in the world, they were ranked lower than FCC in the "experience" category.

The first deal, $11 million more than the current deal, was awarded in June and set for approval in July before Mayor Sylvester Turner went back to the contract finalists for another final offer after the initial complaints from council members.

This deal is a win for the city and the process sound, Turner said.

In a letter Monday, city controller Chris Brown said the funds were available for the project, but still cited the transparency concerns around the deal.

Brown held the contract up a week before, citing a number of concerns his office perceived.

Read the full story here.

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