UPDATE: The Milpitas City Council voted 3-2 to award the city's collection contract to Garden City Sanitation Inc. over Republic Services, as reported by The Mercury News. Republic will continue to operate the local Newby Island Resource and Recovery Park, but this ends its decades-long relationship with Milpitas.
Residents were divided on the decision and provided hours of public comment during the council meeting. Some viewed this as an opportunity to get back at the company for odor issues at the Newby landfill. Others said Republic had been a good community partner and noted that the landfill would still be there regardless of the contract decision.
The contract with Garden City will begin in Sep. 2017 and run for 15 years.
- On Election Day, residents of Milpitas, CA voted in favor of Measure L which means that, as of fall 2017, the city's waste will start going to Waste Management's Guadalupe Recycling and Disposal Facility in San Jose. With all precincts reporting, the results were 55.4% in favor and 44.6% against.
- That decision was already made earlier this year, but Republic Services sponsored a petition to contest it with a ballot question. Waste from Milpitas currently goes to the company's Newby Island Resource and Recovery Park.
- After multiple delays, the Milpitas City Council is now expected to vote on awarding a new collection contract at their next meeting on Nov. 14, as reported by The Mercury News. Republic has held the contract for decades and is now in contention with Santa Clara-based Garden City Sanitation Inc. to retain it.
The decision to move away from using Republic's local landfill stems in large part from residents' odor complaints. Republic wants approval for a vertical expansion, yet this has been tied up in costly lawsuits and odor studies. Residents on both sides of the issue have been frustrated by the delay in approving a contract. City officials decided to wait until after the ballot measure was decided because they might have had to re-bid the disposal contract depending on the outcome.
Milpitas may be close to resolving its waste situation, but the residents who live near the Guadalupe landfill aren't happy about taking their neighbors' trash. Yet some of the waste from those same San Jose residents travels to other municipalities. Odor issues, also involving Republic, have been driving similar conversations about where to send waste in Los Angeles County as well.
While indecisiveness about who should be responsible for hosting landfills seems to be a trend among municipalities in the state lately, California residents did make one point clear this week: When it comes to corporate-sponsored ballot measures or propositions, they were not supportive. The plastic industry's challenge to a 2014 statewide ban on single-use bags was also voted down.