The Cantrell administration seeks new garbage haulers; some residents could see expanded services | Local policy


New Orleans officials have issued an official call for new garbage haulers in nearly half of the city, fulfilling Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s wish to revive solid waste collection after the year’s health crisis. last.

After delays that pushed the process back weeks, then months, the latest solicitations, issued Friday evening for garbage collection in Lakeview, Gentilly, New Orleans East and neighborhoods down Esplanade Avenue, call for potential return to pre-Hurricane Ida service levels along with expanded offerings that won’t be available elsewhere in the city — at least for now.

The bid solicitation, which calls for both once-a-week and twice-a-week pickup proposals, also tightens requirements around contractor personnel, reporting and contingency planning.

Trash piles up in the 3600 block of Frenchmen Street in New Orleans on Sept. 11, 2021, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Ida hit southeast Louisiana.

It divides the area currently served by Metro Service Group, known as Service Area 2, into two smaller territories. One contract will cover areas in Service Area 2 west of the Industrial Canal, and a second will cover areas to the east.

Sanitation director Matt Torri said on Monday the new arrangements were aimed at averting the emergency that erupted after Ida last year, when rotting rubbish piled up in the streets for weeks.

“Hurricane Ida is obviously still very fresh with the city and especially the Department of Sanitation, given the crisis we’ve been through,” Torri said. “One of our main missions was really to help make sure that we solved some of the problems that we had in the past.

One step after another

After finally cleaning up piles of rotting trash last fall with the help of emergency contractors, the Cantrell administration temporarily halted curbside recycling and reduced garbage collection to once a week.

Recycling returned to Service Area 1, which includes Mid-City, Uptown and Algiers, earlier this year, but those areas will remain on a once-a-week collection cycle for the foreseeable future.

Bidders for the Service Area 2 contract were asked to submit plans for once-weekly and twice-weekly pickups. Residents and businesses in Service Area 2 will either return to twice-weekly collections or switch to once-a-week collections and receive an additional 95-gallon garbage cart free of charge. And in addition to the return of recycling, Service Zone 2 will benefit from curbside collections of old tires, electronics and bulky waste. It is possible that plant waste will also be added, depending on the reaction of the sellers.


Matt Torri, director of sanitation for the city of New Orleans, left, speaks during a joint meeting of the council’s budget and public works committees at New Orleans City Hall on Thursday, July 8, 2021. (photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

None of this will be offered in Service Area 1, at least until Richard’s elimination contract expires next year. Still, Torri said that, as far as he knows, the $24 monthly sanitation fee will continue to be applied evenly across the city, as the fee helps fund departmental operations beyond collection. garbage.

Torri said the Service Area 2 solicitation could be a framework for other parts of the city, but city officials want to see how that plays out before making additional plans.

“We’re very interested to see how it goes, to be honest with you, in terms of how it’s received,” Torri said. “Do we have a lot of questions? Is there confusion? Do we need to release addendums to change things? »

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The tender calls for a one-year contract, but Torri said that was a mistake and the contract will cover the next seven years. Contractor selections are currently scheduled for May 5.

A new system

Metro Service Group garnered the most complaints last year, including in the months leading up to the hurricane. Subway owner Jimmie Woods blamed difficulties hiring workers for pickup delays and, in the weeks following the storm, received help from other carriers as the streets filled with heaps of waste.

After the hurricane, Cantrell agreed to relaunch the Metro contract. Officials initially said they wanted to launch a solicitation before the end of 2021, but that has been repeatedly pushed back amid legal reviews.

Jimmie Woods (copy)

Jimmie Woods, owner of the Metro Service Group.

The latest calls for tenders represent an overhaul of a system that has been in place for more than 15 years.

The current arrangement dates back to 2006, when former Mayor Ray Nagin divided most of the city into two similarly sized service areas and assigned a contractor to each area.

This resulted in the largest city contracts ever signed with black-owned businesses, and Nagin’s successor, Mitch Landrieu, then signed the contracts for seven-year terms that expire next year. A smaller contract covers the French Quarter and the Central Business District.

Richard’s and Metro are each paid about $11 million a year, but have complained that existing Landrieu-era contracts require them to collect thousands of places without compensation. They are paid per unit and must be collected from each residence and business, but the number of units is fixed in the contracts, with only marginal growth expected from year to year.

The Cantrell administration agreed that existing contracts underestimated the actual number of service locations, and the new solicitation outlines a different method for assessing changes from year to year.

A lawyer who represented the contractors, Daniel Davillier, did not respond to an email Monday.

Unlike current low-bid contracts, the dual solicitation for Service Area 2 territories is structured as a “request for proposals,” allowing the administration to select contractors it deems most qualified.

The tender requires that all of the contractor’s workers be permanent full-time employees, and also requires daily reports from the contractor of routes traveled, vehicles used, and other information.

“What we were really trying to do with this RFP was get specifics,” Torri said. “Whether it’s personnel details, whether it’s equipment details.”

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