Flint City Council approves waste contract extension

The Flint City Council voted and passed the Priority Waste contract extension early on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 1:02 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The Flint City Council voted and passed the Priority Waste contract extension early on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The contract extension means the city will have a waste hauler in place to implement a state-of-the-art recycling initiative in 2024 and freezes waste hauling rates through 2028, ensuring Flint residents will have the stability of high-quality service at no increased cost.

Under the agreement, Priority Waste will continue to collect trash bags, bulk items, and trash in additional cans at the curb, alongside the new, provided carts.

“I am pleased that under its new leadership, the Flint City Council was able to advance this long-delayed initiative, and the city of Flint can now move forward to enhance and stabilize trash and recycling collection services for Flint residents,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

Previously, city council in-fighting and inaction put thousands of dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act at risk.

Related: City council in-fighting could cost community thousands

On Nov. 8, in a pre-meeting press conference, council members Tonya Burns and Dennis Pfeiffer said when it comes to the Priority Waste contract, both council members would like to receive more bids.

When talking about the Priority Waste contract, Pfeiffer said the mayor’s office hasn’t been truthful about deadlines and costs, stating the city would be in a repeated deficit if the contract is approved regardless of getting the ARPA funds.

Related: Flint City Council holds special meeting to approve allocation of ARPA funds

“I’m surprised and I’m very grateful for those individuals at the council meeting that stayed up to almost four in the morning to deliberate and actually pass this, after several months of delays,” Neeley said.

Now that the contract extension has been approved, the city can move forward with obtaining grant-funded recycling and trash carts for all residential households. These new carts come at no increased cost to Flint residents.

“It’s going to enhance the level of service that we can give residents inside the city,” Neeley said. “But it also, it puts us on the same page as other out-county communities and the rest of the nation as the way that we collect recyclables in this country and waste.”

The city of Flint said the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has granted $1 million and the national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership has granted $3,392,000 million to the city of Flint to support this initiative.

The Recycling Partnership secured a donation of a high-quality resin from Dow Chemical, valued at $900,000, to manufacture Flint’s trash and recycling carts. The cost savings is what allows Flint residents to receive both recycling and trash carts free of charge.

The city said the carts will be owned by the city of Flint and carry a 10-year warranty.

“The monogramming that’s going to be on the carts itself is going to be “Flint strong.” And that’s who we are, and that’s the attitude in which we posses, and now, from crisis to recovery, we’re doing a fantastic job,” Neeley said.

The city will have to issue a request for proposals for cart manufacturing, complete the bid process, and submit a management plan to The Recycling Partnership by Nov. 30.

The city will seek a manufacturer who can also distribute the carts to Flint households, the city said, adding the trash and recycling carts could take six to eight months to manufacture.

Flint residents will receive a variety of communications from the city about the new trash and recycling carts and services provided by Priority Waste as the project moves forward.

Priority Waste Spokesperson Matt Allen said he’s excited for the residents of Flint.

“They’re going to get the first rung technology, brand new equipment, brand new service. It’s only going to pay dividends as the citizens of Flint learn about best practices in recycling, we’re going to be there with them,” Allen said.

Allen said when Priority Waste first came to Flint, the company did what Allen called a “clean sweep” and he believes that resonated with the Vehicle City.

“Mayor Neeley’s leadership and the city council’s leadership together saw fit to renew our contract based on our performance,” Allen said. “And that’s what we want to show everyone, is that we can do this everyday.”

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