York City officials ended their debate over a four-year trash-hauling contract with a vote Tuesday to hire the original low bidder, York Waste.
The company will begin collecting trash and recycling materials in the city May 1. The city will pay York Waste about $1.47 million per year for its services.
The council approved a contract identical to the one that had appeared on its agenda for approval Nov. 7. At that meeting, the council voted 3-2 against awarding the contract to York Waste even though the company's bid had been vetted and recommended for approval by city administrators.
Details of the contract came under the microscope at that meeting when the president of Penn Waste - York's current trash hauler - stepped to the podium and alleged that city officials had improperly corresponded with representatives of York Waste during the bid process.
Scott Wagner also argued that his company would actually be the low bidder if the city eliminated a "fuel escalator" from the contract. Penn Waste had bid about $92,000 more than York Waste per year.
But, on Tuesday, the council voted 3-1 to contract with York Waste. Councilman Michael Helfrich cast the 'no' vote.
After the meeting, Wagner said he does not plan to pursue any legal action related to his earlier allegations.
"I have other fish to fry," he said.
Councilman David Satterlee, who originally voted against the contract, said he had simply wanted to allow for time to answer outstanding questions.
Most of those questions had been posed by Helfrich, who said Tuesday that he remains unconvinced the contract "would benefit the citizens as greatly as re-bidding it.
Helfrich has advocated an expansion of the city's list of items that can be tossed into recycling bins. He has predicted the city could save on its annual trash-disposal budget by diverting more waste to recycling processors instead of landfills.
Helfrich has said he originally voted to reject the contract in hopes of triggering an amendment to the city's bid specifications to reflect an expanded list of recyclables.
That's something public workd director Jim Gross said he plans to pursue with York Waste now that the contract is officially approved. The city and contractor have the ability to expand that list at any time during the contract, Gross said.
"We'll work on it right now," he said.
Mark Pergolese, York Waste's general manager, said the company "absolutely will expand the list."
"If there's a market for it and someone will buy it, then it'll be recycled," he said. "We want to do as much as we can to save (the city) money."
City resident Franklin Williams encouraged the council to publicize the list of recycling items when it's updated.
"We need to know what we're supposed to do," Williams said. "And I think most of us will do it."- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.