Heights hires Republic as new trash hauler
By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal
La Habra Heights Council members selected a new, larger trash hauler, Republic Services, to manage the city’s waste last Thursday at the February council meeting.
After debating between three trash companies, Republic Services, ETCO and Athens, every member of the council concluded that the company offering the cheapest price met the city’s needs.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to service the Heights community,” Republic Services Municipal Relationship Manager Mark McGee said in an email statement.
Republic’s $17.75 fee for three 96-gallon carts, one which includes green waste, captured the attention of all elected officials. The low fee initially won council member Brian Bergman over after he stated that in previous meetings he promised community members to seek lower fees for trash services.
“There are a lot of things to consider, and I’m leaning toward obviously reducing the cost,” Bergman said.
Republic maintains contracts in 36 cities with a significant presence in Orange County. Republic’s low proposed rate is about 58 percent lower than what the Heights current trash servicer offered at $29.50.
“Republic is a national hauler,” said LH Heights Councilman Kyle Miller. “To me, on the surface, it seems like they are taking advantage of economies of scale, which is kind of what we were looking for.”
Because of an ordinance passed by the Heights council during the summer, trash services in the community are now mandatory. In the past, some members of the city opted out of trash services completely and preferred to haul trash out on their own.
“There are about 300 residential premises that are not being billed by Haul-Away for refuse services,” said consultant David L. Davis said at last week’s meeting.
The second-lowest bidder for the job was EDCO Disposal, who is also the council’s second choice and the next in line for the job if contract negotiations are not settled with Republic in the next 60 days.
Some evaluation categories in the selection process were experience, financial capability, safety record and an interview. Ninety percent of the selection process was determined by a scoring matrix, while 10 percent was determined by the interview, this is where Haul-Away scored low, Davis said.
In the evaluation presented by Davis, the raw scores indicated that Republic and EDCO scored the highest, 30, in the interview, while Haul-Away scored one of the lowest, 15.
“Sometimes cheaper isn’t always better,” Heights Mayor Roy Francis said during the meeting.
The incumbent trash hauler also scored the second-lowest with experience, 19, and the lowest, 10, at financial capability, according to the report provided by Davis.
Republic and EDCO scored the highest, 24, at financial capability.
Morrie Beliakoff, president of Haul-Away, spoke at the podium in his allotted three minutes given to all community members, asking for a re-evaluation. Beliakoff asked for council to consider hearing oral presentations from the top four firms.
“I do not feel that the findings fairly represent our proposal to you,” Beliakoff said. “We were graded as not being as financially capable as most of our competitors.” He then conceded to this assessment. “We’re a 20-truck operation versus 600, 500, 900 trucks.”
Council did not discuss his request for more discussion. Haul-Away has been in long negotiations in the past with the city. These extended talks are what led to the city seeking outside bids from other vendors.
“We believe the difference is the result of Republic having securing long term contracts for dump sites and economies of scale,” City Manager Shauna Clark said in an email. “Republic is a larger company than what we have now, but I am assured by our consultant and the review panel that Republic is more than willing to adjust to our needs.”
Clark hopes to bring the franchise agreement upon council at the next meeting on March 13, and she said a transition between Haul-Away and Republic could take up to 60 days.
Francis expressed some sadness after the meeting when asked about losing Haul-Away, who serviced the Heights for about 20 years.
But after much debate by the council, he agrees with the decision and feels the city seems poised to save residents money on its trash services.