The big news in yesterday’s Grand Jury report release had to be the scathing review of the Twin Rivers School District and its police department, but lost in that kerfuffle was the 12-pages related to the multimillion dollar solid waste contract that the city entered into late last year. The deal, which Sacramentans will have to live with for decades, forces ratepayers within the city limits to pay the highest garbage pickup rates in the entire county by far, nearly 25% more each month than any other city in Sacramento County. So, what happened?
Waste collection contracts are the stuff of legend, and often glamorized by Hollywood as the low-hanging fruit for city corruption and mob ties. While nothing so flashy was uncovered by the Grand Jury, their findings still lead to the conclusion that the no-bid contract that was awarded to BLT Enterprises, later to be absorbed by Waste Management Inc, is not in the best fiscal interests of the City of Sacramento. But don’t worry, we can get out of the contract in 2020 if we dish out $22.5 million to exercise the buy-out clause. Ah, shit…
A couple of other tidbits from the final report, which every ratepayer should read for themselves, include:
- The Council’s desire to discontinue the 300-mile nightly haul of the city’s garbage to Nevada blurred its ability to negotiate in a meaningful fashion.
- One proposed way to end the regular garage trek over the Sierra was to build a new landfill at Fruitridge and 84th Street. Despite years of planning and promises, that landfill site never came to be.
- Under normal cases, public contracts over $100,000 are put up for a competitive bid process. Despite the fact that the solid waste contracts were worth thousands of times as much, the Council opted not to put them out for competitive bid, thus costing the ratepayers millions.
- Six months after the City approved a contract in 2010 with BLT, that company sold the contract to Waste Management, making millions of dollars in the process.
- Previous City Managers were taking part in a lobbing effort to push the contracts forward, making the entire ordeal “problematic”.
You can read the report for yourself in the window below.