Meanwhile, Hillsborough County environmentalists like Kent Bailey also support opening up the contract for public bidding. He's asked on his Facebook page that his friends call up the two commissioners considered swing votes on the matter, Les Miller and Victor Crist.
The three incumbent garbage companies are Waste Management, Waste Services and Republic Services. They, too, have gone the social media route, with their own Facebook page, "Leave Our Trash Service Alone."
One of the best breakdowns about what happens when counties open up their contracts on garbage collection came from Bill Varian in the Times on Sunday, who quoted a report by Kessler Consulting, Inc. , that showed that several local governments have reduced their garbage collection rates through competitive bidding.
But there are some, such as Commissioner Sandy Murman, who say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and are supporting the status quo with the three companies. Commissioner Ken Hagan has also expressed support for the current structure, and the fact is that there hasn't been an outcry about poor service or pricing from the community leading up to the hearing.
Mark Sharpe, Kevin Beckner and Al Higginbotham want to seek bids. In an op-ed published on Monday, Higginbotham wrote that since most of the public does comparison shopping, why shouldn't the county?
If you are like me, you “price shop” your auto insurance rates every couple of years, even though you like your current agent. When you need new tires for the car or want to take a vacation, you compare the cost to the benefits. I recently spoke with people in my district who understand the need to compare prices for prescription medications and the provisions in their Medicare options. I’m sure you check your retirement account and compare mortgage rates from various lenders. We all “price shop” on a daily basis to ensure we are getting the best value and stretching our dollar as far as possible.
What is wrong with expecting the same of your government?
Shopping price, or in government terms, conducting an open and competitive bid, ensures we are getting the benefits and services we need, at the best price. I believe the time has come for us to shop and compare prices on this contract in the coming year, since it was last “price shopped” more than fifteen years ago.
If the Commissioners vote to open up the contract for bidding, there will be no immediate transition to a new company, as the current deal with the three current companies doesn't expire until 2013.