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Milpitas, Calif., Delays Waste Contract Decision

The Milpitas, Calif., City Council voted at a special meeting this week to delay selection of a solid waste collection contractor until after the Nov. 8 election.

The Milpitas, Calif., City Council voted at a special meeting this week to delay selection of a solid waste collection contractor until after the Nov. 8 election.

It’s the latest hiccup in a protracted series of issues with waste collection and landfills in the area.

The town voted to dispose of the city's trash at Waste Management's Guadalupe Recycling and Disposal Facility in San Jose. But Republic Services of Santa Clara County gathered enough valid petition signatures to qualify a ballot measure asking Milpitas residents to rescind the city council's decision.

Milpitas hired a law firm back in February 2015 to potentially sue the operator of the Newby Island Landfil.  A few days later, Republic Services of Santa Clara County formed the South Bay Odor Coalition to diminish the impacts to surrounding cities.

At the same time, the San Jose Planning Commission continued to delay its decision regarding the proposed expansion. Milpitas, in March of last year, filed an appeal over the expansion plans and in April declared the landfill a public nuisance. (It was later denied.)

In May, another delay came until a study of the landfills odors could be completed.

Lastly, in December, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Peter Kirwan on Dec. 11 tentatively approved a settlement in a class action suit involving the landfill. The settlement was finalized in June.

The San Jose Mercury News has more:

The panel voted 4-1 on Monday, with Councilwoman Marsha Grilli dissenting, to give one of the two finalists for the garbage collection contract, Santa Clara-based Garden City Sanitation Inc., no more than 30 days to finalize their offer so the council could make an “apples to apples” comparison before selecting one, despite city staff’s recommendation to move forward with Republic Services.

At the meeting, council members expressed their frustration with the drawn out process. Councilman Garry Barbadillo asked why the council had been assembled for a special meeting if one of the two contracts was not even finalized.

Rob Hilton of Walnut Creek-based HF&H Consultants told the council the intention had been to bring two final contracts before the panel for the special meeting. But he said it wasn’t until last week that they learned there would be delays from the City of Sunnyvale — one of the operators of the SMaRT Station recycling facility, which would make up to 8 percent of the total garbage collection contract. Hilton said Garden City’s portion of the contract had been negotiated and finalized and that any agreement made with Sunnyvale for use of the SMaRT station would only lower the cost to residents.

Read the full story here.

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