LOWELL | After unanimously agreeing nearly two months ago to go out for bids for the municipal garbage contract, a majority of the Town Council voted Monday to stay with Republic Services for another three years.
Councilman Don Parker, D-3rd, led the move to quash the notion of soliciting bids from other vendors after Republic waited weeks before offering a three-year contract extension instead of the six months extension requested by the town.
It has been eight years since bids were solicited from other garbage collection companies.
"They're a good vendor with good service at a good price," Parker said.
Councilman Robert Philpot, R-2nd, said the last-minute response from James Metros, Republic's municipal services manager, would leave the town without garbage service were it to not accept the three-year proposal.
Councilman Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, said the idea the town would be left without a vendor to collect town garbage is ludicrous. Republic's competitors would have been happy to step in, he said. Getting bids from other vendors would benefit residents who pay the bills.
"Something's changed since now and then," Kuiper said of the council's previous desire to ask for bids. Council Vice President Craig Earley, D-1st, also voted against the Republic contract.
Lowell Town Administrator Sue Peterson said she fully expected Republic would go for the six-month extension while the town solicited bids.
As approved, Republic's three-year extension will begin July 1. The first year will be reduced from the current $16.40 per unit per month to $16 per unit per month. The following year would be raised by 2.5 percent to $16.40 monthly, and the third year would bump up another 2.5 percent to $16.89.
Lowell Clerk/Treasurer Judy Walters said the town currently pays 70 cents monthly for each unit as a subsidy for citizens. The town will no longer do that.
Walters and Peterson brought the garbage collection topic to the council earlier this year when the contract expiration loomed.
The Republic Services of Indiana-owned construction and demolition landfill immediately west of the town's western boundary was a topic in February when Parker pushed to send letters of inquiry on annexation to owners of five properties along Ind. 2. Republic owns two of them.
As was the case Monday, Parker was supported by Philpot and Council President Edgar Corns, R-5th.
Kuiper and Earley opposed sending letters of inquiry before the properties are contiguous and, therefore able to be annexed.