The dispute over city trash pickup in Flint is finally over.
City officials have extended a one-year contract to Republic Services. During the contact, Republic will collect city waste for the same price offered by Rizzo Environmental Services.
“This agreement will give Flint residents what I’ve been fighting for all along and that’s the best service possible, at the lowest cost possible,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said.
The State Appeals Court overturned a judge’s ruling Sept. 29 and cleared the way for Weaver to pick her preferred contractor.
“This has been a long process and I’m glad it’s just about over,” Weaver said. “But most of all, I’m glad we are going to be saving the citizens and the city of Flint money without compromising the quality of service provided.”
The mayor was stuck in a weeks-long battle with the Flint City Council over trash pickup. The council wanted to stick with Republic Services, while Weaver favored Rizzo.
The contract with Republic ends on Nov. 12, 2017. The contract can then be extended for another year if Republic does the job satisfactorily.
The Flint City Council approved the contract at its meeting on Oct. 24. The council also dropped the lawsuit against Weaver and the city.
The Receivership Transition Advisory Board approved the city's contract with Republic on Oct. 26. The board also decided to lift the ban that prevented the city from being able to sue the state for its role in the water crisis.
"As you saw from various media reports and the public in general, there was a clear public outcry when that change was brought to light," said Stacy Erwin Oakes, city attorney.
Officials from Weaver's office said it is not currently the city's goal to sue the state.
Weaver issued the following statement on the board's decision:"I am very pleased to learn that the Receivership Transition Advisory Board has adopted an amendment to EM Order-3 rescinding the requirement that Flint City officials get approval from the board before a lawsuit can be filed against the state, if we feel that is necessary to obtain the resources needed to help Flint recover from the man-made water disaster.
At this time we are still trying to work with the State to right this wrong and have no plans to sue. If State leaders honor their commitment to do what is best for the citizens and the City of Flint, we will see evidence of that commitment in the City and will have no reason to take legal action. I want to thank Representatives Dan Kildee, John Conyers and the other leaders who have taken a stand for our right to pursue justice and ensure the City of Flint is made whole as we work to move forward from this tragedy.”Allen Gilbert was at the meeting. He feels the city can no move forward.
"It was an abuse of power and that is where the problem is. And I'm glad that RTAB made their statement and said they are not part of that," Gilbert said.
Oakes said it was simply the right thing to do.
"I appreciate the RTAB taking the necessary steps they have taken today to rectify the situation," Oakes said.
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