To prepare for the search for Palo Alto's next waste hauler, the City Council unanimously -- with Councilman Bern Beecham absent -- agreed with 12 recommendations proposed by city staff Monday.
The recommendations strive to ensure the city picks the best company for the $80 million, eight-year contract that would take effect in July 2009, according to Public Works Director Glenn Roberts.
The new hauler is likely to replace the Palo Alto Sanitation Co. (PASCO), which has collected the city's trash for 56 years. PASCO was purchased by the national firm, Waste Management, Inc., several years ago.
The city is having contract disputes with PASCO, but overall has been pleased with its service, Roberts said.
The next company should be selected by next July, Roberts said.
The recommendations include:
* Interested companies would be asked to bid separately on items, such as expanded recycling and food composting, that are part of the goal to reduce the city's waste to near-zero by 2021, when additional costs are expected to top $4 million, Roberts has said.
* Customers, excluding the elderly and disabled residents, would have to pay more for side or backyard collections, which have traditionally been included in basic rates.
* Curbside collections would be favored.
* Companies that offer to retain existing PASCO employees at current pay levels would be favored in the selection process.
* The city would offer use of its Geng Road property (currently housing PASCO) for customer service and other needs, but most vehicle storage would need to be outside the city.
* The city's existing composting facility at the landfill would remain at least until 2011, and in 2009 the chosen company would be responsible for taking food waste, primarily from restaurants, to a regional facility.
* The company would be required to continue single-stream (all in one container) recycling.
* The company would have to take construction and demolition waste to a facility that finds another use for at least 70 percent of the material.
* The city hopes to have only one contract that covers waste collection and processing.
* Only one company would be chosen to serve the city.
* The contract would last for a maximum of 12 years.
* The company would receive a fixed-price, with potential adjustments and incentives for saving material from the landfill.
The council is expected to approve the final request-for-proposals document to be given to interested companies in December, Roberts said.
In other business, the council voted 6-2, with Kleinberg and Klein opposed, to search for a consultant to help it evaluate the four city employees that report directly to the council: City Manager Frank Benest, City Attorney Gary Baum, City Auditor Sharon Erickson and City Clerk Donna Rogers.
Kleinberg and Klein said they think the city can save the $25,000 to $30,000 expense if the council organizes the annual evaluations itself.
The decision of which consultant, if any, will be left to the next council, which as of January will have four new members.
(Staff Writer Becky Trout can be e-mailed at email@example.com.)