Residential Waste Collection Service Restored in Flint, Mich., But Tension Remains High

Service had stopped on Monday amid uncertainty on Flint’s collection contract.

Republic Services resumed residential waste collection service in Flint, Mich., on Tuesday after reaching an interim agreement with the town’s mayor. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. 

Service had stopped on Monday amid uncertainty on Flint’s collection contract. Republic’s existing contract expired on July 29. And there is disagreement on whether Flint should renew with Republic or award its contract to Rizzo Environmental Services.

Collection service was delayed one day because of the dispute. Republic Services said it would resume its normal collection schedule next Monday.

The dispute over the ultimate fate of the city’s collection contract remains heated. In the latest development, Flint Councilman Eric Mays was handcuffed and escorted out of a city council meeting Tuesday night. Meanwhile, dozens of protesters chanted outside the meeting.

“My job as a trustee of the city is to try to make sure we do things right according to charter and ordinance …. my position was you can not discuss a multi-million dollar garbage contract in five minutes,” said Mays, according to report from WWJ.

Flint’s city council on July 20 voted 8-1 to award Republic a five-year contract. But Weaver vetoed the deal and attempted to move forward with a new deal with Rizzo. The council then voted 8-1 to override the mayor’s veto. (Mays was the lone councilman backing Mayor Karen Seaver’s plan to award the contract to Rizzo.)  They also voted to continue service with Republic.

Rizzo reportedly submitted a bid for $17.5 million compared with Republic Services’ bid of $19.5 million. On July 18, Flint’s council passed a resolution to award Republic a three-year contract for an estimated $11.5 million. Last week, the dispute went to Genesee County court.

It’s also been reported, however, that former Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley, who is one of Weaver’s advisors, is a paid consultant for Rizzo.

On August 10, Flint’s Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) is scheduled to meet to decide which company will be awarded the contract to collect waste in Flint on a more permanent basis.    

“I want to thank Republic Services for agreeing to resume trash collection in Flint while we work to resolve this matter,” Weaver said in a statement. “My main objective is to do what’s best for the citizens and the City of Flint. Members of city council and I may have different views on what that is, but residents should not be inconvenienced because of it.”

In its own statement, Republic Services said, “We are encouraged that Mayor Weaver has reconsidered our earlier offer to provide interim residential waste collection service in Flint. …We are truly proud to be a part of the Flint community, and sincerely thank residents for their patience while the City reconsidered an interim service arrangement.” 

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