EVERETT — Snohomish County is poised to start negotiations to keep on contracting with the same company that now exports local trash to a central Washington landfill, after a County Council vote Wednesday.
The new long-haul contract with Republic Services stands to save the county an estimated $1.3 million per year over current rates. It would last for 10 years, with two optional five-year extensions.
“The county has been great to work with,” said Joe Casalini, a Seattle-based director of business development with Republic. “It’s a successful model.”
Republic, a multibillion-dollar corporation, beat its slightly larger rival Waste Management.
The vote was 5-0 with little discussion. Councilman Terry Ryan voted by phone.
Republic, based in Phoenix, offered the county $49.47 per ton of waste it handles. That’s an improvement over the current rate of $52.14.
The company operates a system in place locally for nearly a quarter-century, previously under the names Rabanco and Allied Waste. That contract is set to expire in May.
Under the existing arrangement, county workers haul truckloads of compacted trash from transfer stations to a rail yard in Everett’s Delta neighborhood. Workers load metal trash containers onto trains headed for the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Klickitat County.
Waste Management offered the county a possible savings of $1 million per year. That would have happened by splitting up the contract. The proposal involved taking waste from the county transfer station in Mountlake Terrace to a landfill that Waste Management operates in central Oregon. Trash from Snohomish County’s Everett and Arlington transfer stations still would have followed the same route as now.
A seven-person panel with representatives from the county, local cities, the Snohomish Health District and the Boeing Co. unanimously recommended going with Republic’s offer.
Waste Management touted its access to multiple landfills, including one in Wenatchee, to navigate any emergency track closures. This past winter, the Houston-based company was able to haul 2,100 tons of Snohomish County’s garbage to its central Oregon landfill when an ice storm in the Columbia gorge blocked the route to the Roosevelt landfill.
The company’s bids for handling the entire county waste stream, however, came in higher than Republic’s.
A county consultant who reviewed the bids said that Waste Management was hampered because Republic has a lease to use the county’s north Everett rail yard through 2028. That put Waste Management at a competitive disadvantage.
Republic has history on its side. Its representatives reasoned that the county would face little risk of disruption by staying with a system that’s worked well for nearly 25 years.