NORWALK – In a long-awaited decision regarding the outcome of a new disposal company contract for the city of Norwalk, the City Council last Thursday voted 4-1 to reject all proposals for the contract.
With several speakers using their five minute allotted time to give their last-minute input, speakers introduced potential conflicts of interest for members Tony Ayala and Jennifer Perez who each received campaign contributions from contract finalists.
The contract is a multi-million-dollar agreement.
Mayor Luigi Vernola, acting as facilitator, asked for comments after the final public statements on the issue were finished.
Asking first-term council member Jennifer Perez directly for comment, Perez shared her reservations about the project.
“It’s not an easy task,” she said. “I have never in my life, read so much about trash.”
Further continuing, Perez said “I would be alright with starting over.”
The other new council members Margarita Rios and Tony Ayala voiced their concerns about the RFPs (request for proposals) received from the entire original 11 respondents.
Ayala shared, he was “reluctant to commit the city to an eight-year contract.”
The question of rejecting all bids was now in the open.
Mayor Vernola asked, “How long would it take to put a new RFP together?”
With no formal motion on an action, Ayala made the motion to “reject all bids.”
Perez seconded the motion.
Roll call was taken and with the lone dissenter, Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock voting “no,” the council opted to go back to the drawing board.
Shryock on Tuesday commented, “I was disappointed (in the rejection) because I was ready to make a decision.”
Additionally, he added, “They’re all good companies. Someone is going to be disappointed.”
Asked Monday about where the city goes next, Norwalk City Clerk Theresa DeVoy responded that staff would use the, “current RFP as a base and build off of that.”
DeVoy directed inquires to the city’s Administrative Service Manager Adriana Figueroa.
“No action has been taken since the council’s action at the Aug. 3 meeting,” Figueroa confirmed.
She also confirmed that in October 2012 the city notified both of its current trash haulers that their contract would not be extended.
Official requests for proposal were announced in October 2015.
By Raul Samaniego | Contributor