Would've been nice to get bids for trash pickup

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

In the near future, Vandalia officials will be deciding on a new contract for residential garbage pickup that includes rate increases in each of the five years of that agreement. Unfortunately, it's likely that we won't be able to determine whether the city could have gotten a better deal.
The city council’s cemetery and landfill committee agreed on Monday to support a new five-year contract with Doty Sanitation Service, which has provided the service since 1999.
The proposed contract calls for the residential garbage pickup rate to increase to $11.98 in the first year, with the rate at the end of that contract to be $13.38.
In proposing the new contract, Doty notes that it has not increased its rate of $7.69 since 2003, and that it needs increases to offset its landfill and fuel costs.
We are not contending here that the increases are not reasonable. Instead, we're simply stating that it would have been good to know whether we could have gotten a better deal.
The city was basically backed into a corner of negotiating solely with Doty after city officials failed to realize that the current contract was expiring at the end of June. When they did realize that, just a couple of weeks before that contract expired, city officials spoke with Doty, which agreed to continue providing the service at the $7.69 rate.
In return, Doty asked that the city negotiate with them on a new contract, instead of putting the service out for bid.
We, essentially, didn’t have another option, or we faced being without a garbage pickup provider, or paying an exorbitant rate for that service until the bidding process could be completed.
The rates for other area communities this year range from $7.75 in Brownstown to $13.75 in Altamont, with some companies providing cleanup week services and others not.
In supporting a new contract with Doty, members of the cemetery and landfill committee cite the company’s history of exemplary service, its decision to offer services at a reasonable rate for an extended period and its commitment to serving Vandalia by building a truck storage facility here.
We can’t present arguments contrary to that. It just would have been nice to be able to solicit bids from other firms.