By Holly Cook
No decision was reached Tuesday on whether Roeland Park would participate alongside Fairway and Westwood in a joint solid waste bid process administered by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).
While the council generally agreed they would like to continue working with Fairway and Westwood, they disagreed on whether the three cities should try to manage the bid without using MARC’s $20,000 consultation services.
The services would include an additional administrative fee of about $3,200 for Roeland Park, $2,000 for Fairway and $800 for Westwood. The administrative fees are based on the total solid waste fees each city is charged.
MARC facilitated the current contract between the three cities, which according to a city report “yielded lower solid waste service fees with enhanced solid waste services.” The contract runs through the end of 2017 and the new bid process must be finalized early this year.
The cities currently receive solid waste services through WCA/Town and Country Disposal.
Councilman Michael Rhoades supported working with Fairway and Westwood but suggested the cities save the consultation fee and have city administrators handle the bid process.
Rhoades said that if Roeland Park did proceed with MARC he did not agree with dividing the administrative fee based on solid waste fee charges.
“It’s a three city process,” Rhoades said. “I think it should be divided equally between three cities.”
City administrator Keith Moody said he did not think the other two cities would agree to move forward without using MARC.
Rhoades said he was confident city administrators could handle the contract and questioned why the other cities wouldn’t agree.
“If they can save money, why wouldn’t they?” Rhoades asked.
Councilor Sheri McNeil agreed with Rhoades’ suggestion to forgo using MARC and said she thought if Roeland Park decided they didn’t want to use MARC the other two communities may follow.
“I think that the cities can work together on this,” McNeil said.
Councilor Becky Fast said she was on the council when the decision to work with MARC was made. Fast said the cities only agreed to come together after the neutral party was brought in to manage the process.
“I don’t see them willing to come together unless we have MARC,” she said.
Councilman Ryan Kellerman questioned whether the city should consider taking the request for proposal process to an open market and mentioned he had heard from several residents they were receiving poor trash pick-up service. Moody cautioned against taking the proposal to an open market.
“In my opinion there are significantly more drawbacks than advantages,” he said.
Rhoades proposed to amend the agreement so that the three cities would attempt to move forward without MARC. If that attempt failed the three cities would then move forward with MARC.
“I would like to go to each council and actually ask them the question, ‘Would you be willing to do this with us and save $20,000 as a group?’” Rhoades said.
The motion to amend the agreement was made by Rhoades and seconded by Kellerman. Councilmembers Rhoades, Kellerman, McNeil and Tim Janssen voted in favor of the amendment. Councilmembers Fast, Erin Thompson, Teresa Kelly and Michael Poppa voted against the amendment. Mayor Joel Marquardt was not present at the meeting so Thompson, who was serving as acting mayor, was able to vote twice and the amendment failed.
Rhoades then made a motion to table the discussion until the next council meeting or workshop. Kelly seconded the motion. The issue was tabled without opposition.