Trash bid review conclusions support city's assessment

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The city's concerns about the solid waste contract put forth by West Central Sanitation were validated by an independent study, the mayor's office said Tuesday.

Mayor Jean Stothert's office released the conclusions provided by HDR's Environmental Division; as well as afinancial review conducted by the City of Omaha Finance Department.

HDR identified two "areas of risk" in its report: resource allocation and costs of operation. The WCS bid contained more collection efficiencies, or estimated number of homes collected per route each day, than other bidders, the HDR document states, and would likely result in more equipment and personnel than would be required to fulfill the contract.

Meanwhile, the city's finance department found that winning the Omaha contract would "represent a doubling of their company," the document states, and that the contract of about 150,000 homes was so larger than the next largest WCS contract of approximately 19,000 in Mankato, Minn.

The finance department report also stated that securing financing for the contract would be "challenging," but noted that WCS had presented a reference letter from a Minnesota bank and from a large natoinal finance company. The department also expressed concern that WCS' most recent financials available for review were 16 months old and had not been audited.

Citing these findings, Mayor Stothert was again recommending that the city council accept the bid submitted by FCC Environmental, which was also the lowest bid.

"This has the potential to be a 20-year contract," the mayor said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "We need to get it right."

The council is expected to vote June 4 on the contract recommendation.