Republic Waste Services of Texas, LTD, appears to have significantly overcharged commercial businesses utilizing frontload dumpsters and rolloff containers inside the city limits of San Angelo, Texas over the past 14 years. The following petitions are proposed to delay the San Angelo City Council approval of a new contract with Republic until the overcharges are investigated, an audit is completed, findings are released to the public, overcharged businesses are fully reimbursed, the results of the recyclables and solid waste collection and landfill operation Request for Proposal responses are released, and a copy of the proposed contracts are posted for at least a two week public review period prior to final City Council action.
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PETITION related to San Angelo, Texas Solid Waste Services
WHEREAS, for approximately the past 37 years, the City of San Angelo, Texas has controlled the collection of commercial, industrial, institutional (the three types collectively referred to herein as “Commercial”) and residential solid waste not exempted from City franchise control by local, state and federal law; and
WHEREAS, for the past 37 years, the City has not competitively bid out its exclusive contract for either solid waste collection services or landfill operation services; and
WHEREAS, for the past 30 years, the City has owned and held the controlling interest in the former Tom Green County landfill, TCEQ Permit # 79; and
WHEREAS, Republic Waste Services of Texas, LTD (“Republic”) and its wholly owned predecessor, Trashaway Services, Inc., have served as the City’s exclusive contractor for solid waste collection and landfill operation services during this time; and
WHEREAS, the City issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the collection of non-exempt Commercial waste, the collection of residential solid waste and recyclables, and the operation of the City’s landfill on February 11, 2014, and voted to negotiate exclusively with Republic for those contracts on April 1, 2014; and
WHEREAS, the City has relied upon Republic to professionally and responsibly operate the City landfill and to accurately invoice Commercial and landfill customers in accordance with its contract, City ordinance and State law; and
WHEREAS, Republic already holds the responsibility and liability related to its operation of the City landfill by it and its wholly owned predecessor, including the closure and post-closure care liability; and
WHEREAS, Commercial and landfill customers have relied upon the City to administer, monitor and regulate all service charges and fees billed directly by Republic; and
WHEREAS, open and competitive non-exclusive markets are proven to promote competitive rates and foster innovative programs and services available to customers; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned believe they have not received the intended benefit of an exclusive service provider who honors its municipal franchise responsibilities, and that an open and competitive non-exclusive market for Commercial waste collection services is the best method for protecting their interests; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT KNOWN, the undersigned urge the San Angelo City Council to permanently remove Commercial waste collection services from the exclusive services contract currently being negotiated with Republic, and to allow Commercial customers to obtain their collection services from a service provider of their choice in an open, competitive non-exclusive franchise market, and allow those service providers to dispose of the waste in the City landfill at reasonable and competitive disposal rates; and
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, the undersigned urge the City Council to hire an independent third party firm to audit and quantify the total amount charged and collected by Republic from Commercial customers in all rates regulated under the current and prior contracts over the past 20 years, to publicly disclose the audit findings, and to determine the specific refund, with interest, due each Commercial entity, over and above the approved rates and charges set by City ordinance applicable during that period; and
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, the undersigned urge the City Council to take action to compel Republic to fund City landfill closure, post-closure and remediation liability and acknowledge the environmental liability, which they are already responsible for under the current contract, and to refund each individual San Angelo Commercial customer 100% of all unauthorized charges and fees in excess of those approved rates and charges set by applicable City ordinance, with interest, prior to any new contract approval consideration between Republic and the City, beyond a month to month necessary extension of the existing contract to allow time for the refunds to be determined and completed; and
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, the undersigned urge the City Council to initiate a new Request For Proposal process to include Republic continuing to operate the existing City landfill until its landfill capacity is consumed, and to include proposal opportunities for the permitting and operation of a new landfill for use after the existing landfill’s remaining capacity is consumed, and for the collection and disposal of residential solid waste in the existing landfill and the responsible collection, processing and marketing of residential single stream recyclables.
PETITION related to investigation of Republic Waste Services of Texas, LTD overcharges to commercial businesses in San Angelo, Texas
WHEREAS, Republic Waste Services of Texas, LTD ("Republic") has held an exclusive contract for commercial services in the City of San Angelo for many years; and
WHEREAS, Republic has billed customers fuel and environmental fees and excess franchise fees, which exceed the charges allowed by the contract and by city ordinance; and
WHEREAS, the City of San Angelo has reportedly conducted an internal audit of at least a portion of these charges; and
WHEREAS, these erroneous charges have been calculated to be estimated in excess of $11.1 million including interest; and
WHEREAS, it has been reported in a newspaper article dated June 16, 2014 that this report auditing the overcharges will not become public; and
WHEREAS, local businesses have reason to doubt the resolve of both Republic and the City to oversee this contract and the resulting monies owed commercial businesses with trash service on invoices since 2000; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT KNOWN, the undersigned urge the County and District Attorneys for Tom Green County, to conduct a formal criminal investigation into the systematic overcharging of commercial businesses by Republic; and
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, the undersigned urge the County and District Attorneys for Tom Green County, to release their findings in a public fashion and utilize every available measure under the law to hold Republic and its management staff accountable for any criminal conduct related to overcharging commercial businesses; and
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN, the undersigned urge the City Council to delay voting on a new contract with Republic until this matter is completely resolved. The RFP response required a signed form be returned with the proposal titled Debarment and Suspension Certification. This form states that a respondent must be able to certify it is not criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity for offenses including, but not limited to, theft, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements or embezzlement. Any new contract approval and execution consideration with Republic should be delayed until this matter is fully investigated, findings are released and full reimbursements are made to San Angelo businesses.
This concerns the City of San Angelo, Texas Request For Proposal and the related contracts, and ordinances to be considered by affected parties and the City Council over the next several months for Commercial and residential solid waste and recyclables collection services and City owned landfill operations services.
FACT SHEET related to San Angelo, Texas Solid Waste Services
- The City of San Angelo now contracts exclusively with Republic Waste Services of Texas, LTD (“Republic”) for the operation of its landfill and for collection of legally-non-exempt commercial, industrial, institutional (the three types collectively referred to herein as “Commercial”), and residential solid waste.
- After more than 37 years without a competitive bidding process for solid waste services, the City issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for these services on February 11, 2014, and voted on April 1, 2014 to enter into negotiations with Republic for new contracts for the collection of solid waste and recyclables and for the ongoing operation of the existing City landfill, which could potentially extend Republic’s contractual relationship with the City for an additional fifteen or more years.
- Republic has operated the City landfill for approximately 30 years and is already bound by its current contract with the City for the responsibility and operations liability related to the operation of the City landfill and its closure and post-closure liability; so it should come as no surprise that Republic would be willing to pledge financial assurance funds for the City landfill closure, post-closure care and remediation liability under a new contract with the City, as part of its recent RFP response.
- The City Council establishes by ordinance the rates that are to be charged to Commercial and residential customers for collection and disposal of solid waste.
- Republic has had the exclusive right to service the City controlled Commercial customers and is responsible for billing those customers directly in accordance with the rate ordinance adopted by the City Council.
- A review of past and current Republic invoices to Commercial customers within the city limits shows that Republic has charged Commercial customers a fee, most often identified for many years as a “Fuel/Environmental Charge” and a “Total Fuel/Environmental Recovery Fee,” which is believed to have increased to more than 30% in excess of the rates approved by the City Council and established by current rate ordinance.
- Charging rates in excess of those established by City ordinance is illegal and constitutes a breach of contract and a breach of the fiduciary responsibility entrusted to Republic as the City’s exclusive service provider and billing agent for non-exempt Commercial accounts.
- The Commercial customers in San Angelo are not receiving the intended benefit of having an exclusive service provider controlled by a City rate ordinance, if the exclusive service provider charges rates in excess of those allowed by City ordinance.
- Business representatives within the San Angelo city limits urge the City Council to permanently remove Commercial waste collection services from the exclusive contract currently being negotiated with Republic, and to allow for an open and competitive non-exclusive franchise market to provide businesses the option of contracting with the service provider of their choice, at open market competitive rates.
- Business representatives within San Angelo also urge the City Council to hire an independent third party auditor to determine the extent of overcharging that has taken place by Republic in all rates regulated under the current and prior contracts over the past 20 years; to publicly disclose the audit findings; and to take every action necessary under the current contract to compel Republic to refund 100% of the charges, with interest, not authorized by City ordinance to each business that has been charged more than is allowed, prior to any new contract approval between Republic and the City, beyond a month to month necessary extension of the existing contract to allow time for the refunds to be determined and completed.
- Business representatives within San Angelo also urge the City Council to initiate a new Request For Proposal process to acknowledge and allow open market competition for non-exempt Commercial waste collections services, to allow Republic to continue to operate the City controlled existing City landfill until its capacity is consumed, and to include proposal opportunities for the permitting and operation of a new landfill for use after the existing landfill’s remaining capacity is consumed, and for collection and disposal of residential solid waste in the existing landfill and the responsible collection, processing and marketing of residential single stream recyclables.
- Business representatives can join other San Angelo businesses in making these requests of the City Council by signing the petition through one of the business organizations gathering signatures, or at www.sanangelospeaks.com.