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Snohomish approves contested long-term garbage contract

SNOHOMISH —  The City Council approved having Snohomish sign a new contract with Republic Services of Lynnwood for solid waste or garbage collection despite criticisms from the public concerning the city not putting out a request for bids from other companies.
The new seven-year contract will go into effect April 1.
There will be service changes for people living in-city, such as that a 32-gallon garbage tote will be provided by Republic and billing will come quarterly from Republic instead of bi-monthly from the city. The changes mean a $1.87 lower monthly rate for solid waste.
Negotiations for the new contract began last spring, but critics say the city should have put out a request for competitive bids from other area solid waste companies before tapping Republic again for a contract.
The city cited a customer survey about solid waste services that had generally positive feedback about the garbage provider. Nineteen percent, or 576 of the 3,049 customers surveyed responded.
Seventy-four percent said they agree or strongly agree with overall satisfaction of Republic Services’ garbage, recycling and yard waste service, but 46 percent were not satisfied with their rates (28 percent were neutral, 26 percent said they were satisfied with rates). 
Council members spoke about Republic’s positive notes and the city’s “long history” and relationship with Snohomish. The city has contracted with Republic Services since March 2003. 
“Republic Services gives so much to the community ... they’re really great community partners,” Councilwoman Karen Guzak said, giving her support.
Councilman Jason Sanders said while there “was a lot of history behind this” with the city developing the survey and going through months of negotiations, he would like to see requests for bids in the future. 
The council unanimously supported the agenda action item 5-0. Councilman Michael Rohrscheib and Mayor Tom Hamilton were absent.

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