By Holly Cook
The Roeland Park city council voted 6-2 Monday to pursue a solid waste bid process with the cities of Westwood and Fairway under the guidance of the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). Councilmembers Michael Rhoades and Ryan Kellerman voted against the motion and councilmembers Becky Fast, Sheri McNeil, Tim Janssen, Erin Thompson, Teresa Kelly and Michael Poppa voted in favor.
The council generally agreed they would like to continue to team up with Westwood and Fairway, but was at odds on whether to utilize MARC to facilitate the contract. MARC would charge an administrative fee of $3,200 for Roeland Park, $2,000 for Fairway and $800 for Westwood to negotiate the contract.
Councilmember Michael Rhoades questioned whether the council should approve spending taxpayer dollars on MARC to perform a bid process he thought the cities could handle on their own.
Councilmembers Thompson, Kelly and Fast spoke in favor of continuing the joint bid process with MARC. Fast said she didn’t think the other cities would consider moving forward without a third party consultant.
“We are going to lose money in the end because we are going to lose the other cities,” Fast said.
MARC estimates the three cities saved more than $117,000 since 2012 by utilizing the joint bid process, a figure questioned by Rhoades.
City administrator Keith Moody also spoke in favor of using MARC.
“I’m one who thinks that communities can achieve more together,” Moody said.
Janssen reminded the council that the existing solid waste contract administered by MARC did not contain stipulations related to performance measures.
After several minutes of deliberation Kellerman forced a vote by making a motion to call the question. Councilmembers Fast, Kellerman, Thompson, Kelly and Poppa voted in favor of the motion and McNeil, Janssen and Rhoades voted against it.
Councilmembers also discussed the issue at Jan. 18 and Feb. 8 meetings. During the Feb. 8 workshop meeting Westwood Mayor John Yé and Fairway City Administrator Nathan Nogelmeier spoke in favor of utilizing MARC’s services.