Friday, October 13, 2006

Debris Bidding War

Waveland might switch debris firms
Bay, Hancock paying $6 less per cubic yard
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
rlafontaine@sunherald.com
WAVELAND - City leaders here say they want to save a bunch of money on debris removal by switching to Yates.
Waveland hired TCB Construction to handle what's left of the city's Katrina debris just after the storm.
Some city aldermen are less than pleased with TCB's unit price proposal of nearly $18 per cubic yard, compared to a price Hancock County and Bay St. Louis are getting. Aldermen are pushing the city to shop around.
Mayor Tommy Longo said in recent meetings that if a joint contract with the county and the Bay turned out to be cheaper, he would support dumping the city's current deal and attempt to join the Hancock-Bay project.
The Hancock Board of Supervisors awarded a contract Monday to Yates Construction based on the firm's unit-price proposal of about $12 per cubic yard to finish cleaning the county and Bay St. Louis. The job could cost the county nearly $6 less per cubic yard than Waveland.
"The mayor has said all along that TCB was cheap and they were putting local people to work and that's fine," said Alderman Brian Schmitt. "Then he says that TCB was right on the money, but that if the county bids came in cheaper, we would piggyback on their contract and all that sounded good to me."
Waveland hired TCB after Katrina to clean debris north of the CSX railroad tracks. The city recently extended that deal to include areas south of the tracks, without publicly soliciting bid proposals from other companies.
"Does TCB still look cheap compared to what the county is getting? Heck no," Schmitt said. "If we can't get in on the county's contract, then we need to advertise for bids again."
Schmitt said he called City Hall and requested space on next week's agenda so the board could revisit TCB's contract "as soon as I found out about the county's deal."
Since the storm, Waveland has removed more than 2 million cubic yards of debris and Longo said he supports Schmitt's plan to revisit the contract, but the city should not stop progress while looking for a better deal.
"We will almost certainly advertise for new bids if we can't get in with the county's contract," Longo said. "The only reason we haven't yet is because we had an existing contract that allowed us to continue working and we didn't want to stop cleaning debris for six months in Waveland."
Because of its private contract, Waveland has been able to continue its debris removal. Work essentially was stopped in the county and the Bay since the Corps of Engineers pulled out earlier this year.
The federal government funded 100 percent of the debris removal until June 30. Since then, local and state governments have been responsible for 10 percent of the cost and the federal government is funding the rest.

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