Mayor Stothert resubmits her trash contract recommendation

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Mayor Jean Stothert is pressing the City Council to make a final decision regarding the city's solid-waste contract bids.

In a letter to the council Wednesday morning, Mayor Stothert resubmitted her recommendation for FCC Environmental and a two-cart collection system, which she said is the “lowest bid and best value.”

Mayor Stothert also sent three other contract options to give council members multiple options. Ultimately, she prefers the one she originally supported.

The mayor has said she is worried the opposing bid with West Central Sanitation would not be able to handle a large city like Omaha, and that a three-cart waste collection will require a tax increase.

The mayor's preferred contract would last 10 years and include two possible five-year extensions at 22.6 million dollars annually.

The city is also advertising bids to address unlimited yard waste collections on Saturdays during peak spring and fall seasons. This address council concerns about volumes of waste. Those bids are due July 31.

The future of the composting product Omaha Grow, which comes from yard waste, is uncertain.

In her letter, the mayor also suggested lowering the number of members in a household that qualify for extra curbside collection from eight to five in order to remedy the extra waste produced by larger households, a concern from the council.

The city's Public Works Department also submitted a letter to the City Council on Wednesday morning in support of the FCC two-cart collection plan. Public Works Director Robert Stubbe cited adding 130 jobs, reduced litter, and company's ability to handle a city of Omaha’s size as reasons behind his department's endorsement.

Stothert's previous recommendation was rejected by the council in April, citing reasons ranging from the large size of garbage cans to disappointment over the end of unlimited yard waste collection.

The mayor said she would like the council to make a final decision by September since it will take 14-16 months for the new contractor to set up operations and be ready to go by January 1, 2021.

There will be a meeting on July 30 to discuss the final decision. A vote could come August 13.