NORWALK – The Norwalk City Council on Tuesday voted 4-1 to start negotiations with Athens Disposal on a new solid waste contract, despite choosing CR&R just two weeks ago.
Athens was one of three finalists for the waste contract, along with CR&R and WRI. At a special meeting April 2, the council unanimously chose CR&R, pending agreement of a final contract.
CR&R is Norwalk’s current trash hauler, along with Consolidated Waste.
On Tuesday, council members changed directions and ordered negotiations with Athens. Councilman Leonard Shryock cast the lone opposing vote.
In an interview Wednesday, City Manager Jesus Gomez said CR&R asked for a 10-year contract, with an optional five-year extension.
Gomez said he told representatives of CR&R, “I’m not able to extend the terms farther than the original [request for proposals].”
In a report to council members, Norwalk administrator Adriana Figueroa said the city had no other alternative than to select another trash hauler.
“Given that staff received no other alternative rate during the negotiation period for an 8-year term with up to 24 months’ extension, which is consistent with the solid waste RFP, staff suspended its negotiations with CR&R, and therefore seeks City Council direction with regard to selection of a firm to negotiate waste rates,” Figueroa said Tuesday. “In addition CR&R, the other two remaining proposers are Athens and WRI.”
Councilman Luigi Vernola made the motion to begin negotiations with Athens.
Councilman Shryock dissented, saying he was “concerned about a [potential] litigious process.”
The City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at City Hall to discuss the waste contract. The meeting is open to the public.
By Raul Samaniego