UPDATE: The Town Council of Windsor, CA reversed course once more and returned to its original selection of Green Waste Recovery for a 10-year collection contract, as reported by The Press Democrat.
The council voted 3-1 in a special meeting on June 13 to stick with Green Waste Recovery for a $52 million contract after voting to reconsider that original decision two weeks earlier. Green Waste's decision to no longer locate a transfer station in Petaluma, at a controversial site among local residents and officials, helped seal the deal. The company now plans to locate a facility closer to Windsor, though the lone dissenting council member was skeptical of this promise and cautioned against driving recyclables long distances to the San Jose area.
This decision could also help Green Waste's chances in ongoing negotiations for a collection contract in Santa Rosa. The company is reportedly one of two finalists, along with Waste Management, to take over for The Ratto Group.
- The Town Council of Windsor, CA voted 4-1 on May 30 to reconsider their recent decision to award Green Waste Recovery a 10-year collection contract worth an estimated $52 million. This reopens the contract process for four other companies that had initially bid, as reported by The Press Democrat.
- The company's proposal for a recycling transfer station in nearby Petaluma has become a sticking point due to concerns about its potential environmental effects from local groups and residents. Petaluma's mayor had supported the plan, but multiple local council members signed a letter against it and the possibility of litigation has been raised.
- Though the site is zoned for industrial uses, a conditional use permit could be required from Petaluma which would further complicate the process. Windsor's Town Council will revisit its decision about a collection contract during a June 7 meeting at the earliest.
Shifting course so quickly on a contract of this size is already less than ideal. Factoring in the role of a law firm that has a local reputation for helping shut down Sonoma County's composting operation in this potential siting challenge, and a pending decision by Santa Rosa about awarding their own new collection contract, further complicates the situation.
Windsor is currently serviced by The Ratto Group, known for being one of the largest haulers in the Sonoma County area with contracts in Santa Rosa and a number of other municipalities. Ratto is now in the process of being acquired by Recology, though it appears that they may not be in contention to retain the Santa Rosa contract which is set to expire this year. According to the latest reports, Green Waste Recovery and Waste Management are the two finalists for that contract. The fate of the Windsor contract may not directly affect Santa Rosa, but the outcome will be closely watched by all involved.
As seen with Jupiter, FL's decision earlier this year to award a contract to Waste Management after previously selecting Advanced Disposal, it's not unprecedented for municipalities to change their minds. Yet doing so is rarely a smooth process, with the potential for legal challenges and difficult public relations questions along the way.