City of Flint reaches temporary agreement for trash pickup

A short-term fix has been settled on as Flint city leaders bicker over a new contract.

- They are already dealing with a historic water crisis.

Now a garbage pick-up battle has Flint residents steaming mad - but it looks like the impasse may have been averted at the last minute.

A temporary agreement is now in place after the city of Flint announced this weekend it would suspend trash pickup services indefinitely. All because the Mayor and city council could not come to an agreement on which company should be contracted to pick it up.

"We need to start the bidding process over," said Kerry Nelson, the city council president. "When there are things that appear to (have not been done) right or done the wrong way, that brings this council to alert."

City council president Kerry Nelson says council voted against switching services from Republic Services to Rizzo Environmental Services, because they didn't have time to evaluate long term costs.

"I don't want anyone to have a five-year contract," he said. "Not Republic not Rizzo. That's why this council stood with a three-year contract. Because at this juncture, people are leaving the city because of the water. In five years we don't know what the tax base will be, we don't know what the revenue will be."

Mayor Karen Weaver says she is trying to undo the city's old habits.

"I think under the emergency manager we've been doing so many no-bid contracts, they haven't in the best interest of the city when we look at the cost," she said.

After backlash from residents, a temporary agreement was reached Monday afternoon with Republic Services, hired to take out the trash until August 12. Both sides of the argument are hoping to reach a long-term agreement by then.

"We are trying to be a financially solvent city," Weaver said. "We're trying to not go back under an emergency manager so we're trying to make some decisions that are in the best interest of the people. We're not going to just do no-bid contracts and keep renewing them."

Until then residents just want to be assured, they won't be left to wonder where to put their trash, while they're still dealing with the water crisis.

"You (are) going to fight over picking up our garbage?" said Betty Franklin. "If you have a fight with each other, fight amongst yourselves but pick up the garbage."

Members of the city's Receivership Transition Advisory Board are scheduled to meet August 10. At that meeting the board should decide which company will be awarded the contract to collect waste in Flint on a more permanent basis.


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