Both bidders for Omaha’s next trash contract appear to have enough routes, trucks, drivers and workers to pick up garbage on an ideal, 75-degree day, Public Works officials say.
But only one waste hauler included enough cushion in its bids to reliably pick up the trash, with minimal delays, when it’s 100 degrees outside or the streets are covered in snow and ice, officials say.
That’s why Mayor Jean Stothert and City Public Works Director Bob Stubbe say they recommend that the City Council award FCC Environmental a 10-year contract over the city’s low bidder, West Central Sanitation.
Those officials say delayed collections in May and June by the city’s current trash hauler, Waste Management, hammered home the value of ensuring that the city’s next hauler is prepared for unplanned delays.
To them, trash service with less risk of interruption is worth $7 million more a year. FCC bid $22.7 million a year for two 96-gallon trash carts, one for trash and yard waste combined and one for recycling. West Central bid $15.6 million a year for the same job.
“The risk of us failing in Omaha is zero,” Dan Brazil, FCC’s director of collection services, told The World-Herald. “We have zero concerns.”
The Public Works Department has expressed concerns about West Central’s need to secure financing, its ability to nearly double in size to serve Omaha and its lack of experience serving large cities.
FCC officials are in Omaha this month to make the company’s closing arguments to the City Council. Brazil’s pitch: FCC builds more flexibility into its bids than competitors.
FCC says it bids to collect trash from fewer households each day because drivers and cart-grabbing helpers are scheduled to work 9-hour days, instead of 10, leaving an hour of cushion in each person’s schedule. This, FCC says, allows it to handle the unexpected with fewer delays and interruptions.
West Central’s bid has drivers working 10-hour days.
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FCC expects each of its 59 trucks to pick up waste from about 674 households per day, on average, bid documents show. West Central expects each of its 40 trucks to pick up waste from 1,074 households a day.
The city’s two other trash bidders, neither of which is still being considered, expected trucks to collect waste from 707 and 763 households per day.
West Central says it can serve more households with fewer workers because it automates more routes than its competitors. Automated trucks use driver-operated arms to grab and dump trash carts from the curb.
West Central plans to fully automate 94% of the city’s routes.
FCC’s bid would automate about 44% of Omaha’s routes and use semi-automated trucks with a helper grabbing garbage on the rest, documents show.
FCC chose not to automate much of eastern Omaha. The company says it’s quicker to collect garbage in alleys and on streets with curbside parking by grabbing garbage on both sides of the street in a single pass rather than making two passes in an automated truck that can only collect trash from one side of the roadway.
West Central came to Omaha this month to demonstrate its automated trucks in some of Omaha’s toughest neighborhoods to collect garbage.
West Central could collect garbage even faster in Omaha than what’s included in its bids, based on what it’s done in smaller Minnesota communities, owner Don Williamson said. Other companies that have used automated trucks in larger cities have seen similar results, he said.
West Central officials say its bids include 10 extra people and extra equipment to help the company catch up in a pinch.
An independent review of West Central’s bids by HDR Inc. questioned whether West Central could achieve as many efficiencies with automation in Omaha as its bids suggest. But the review also acknowledged that West Central had provided data showing that such efficiencies had been achieved elsewhere. And it said the company had enough backup to carry out its plan in Omaha.
The City Council appears to be split on which bidder to support.
Rich Pahls has pushed his council colleagues to support West Central, and even took a trip to Minnesota to see the company in action in its largest market to date, Mankato, Minnesota.
Councilwoman Aimee Melton has said saving $7 million a year might be worth some risk.
Councilman Vinny Palermo, who supported the FCC bid in June, said residents don’t want to think about what happens after they set their garbage at the curb. They want to put it out in the morning and have it gone when they get home.
The South Omaha Democrat said he might still back FCC’s bid if Stothert’s plan for eight to 12 weeks of additional yard waste pickup proves affordable.
Bids on a supplemental yard waste plan for spring and fall are expected to be opened July 31. That waste would be composted at the city’s OmaGro facility.
A trash contract vote is expected in mid-August.
The city’s current $15 million a year contract with Waste Management runs through the end of 2020.
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Raindrops collected on the pedals of a rose as a steady, cool rain fell on flowers and grasses planted in the median near 133rd Street and Holling Drive in Omaha, Nebraska.
On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Ed Morrissette a 95-year-old WWII veteran of Papillion, reminisced while toasting to his fallen comrades with a drink accompanied by John Adams, Tom Demro, Antonio Chickinelli and Jeff Hadden at Patriarch Distillers Inc. in La Vista, Nebraska, Thursday, June 6, 2019. Morrissette who was part of the second wave on D-Day at Omaha Beach drank a Canada Dry while the others had Soldier Valley Omaha Beach D-Day 75th anniversary bourbon whiskey.
United States' Annie Drews hit the ball past Brazil's blockers Amanda Francisco, left, and Ana Beatriz Correa, right, during a game in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League round-robin event at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, June 6, 2019.
United States' Jordyn Poulter (2) set the ball during a game against Brazil in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League round-robin event at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, June 6, 2019.
United States' Jordyn Poulter passed the ball during a game against Brazil in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League round-robin event at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, June 6, 2019.
Carolyn McNamara, left, of the Heritage Task Force, helped Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections with the International Quilt Museum, hang a quilt made by quilters from the First Unitarian Church of Omaha in 1898. The quilt was made by the Ladies of Unity Circle #1.
This was a quilt made by quilters from the First Unitarian Church of Omaha in 1898. The quilt was made by the Ladies of Unity Circle #1. The circle sold subscriptions quilt blocks to local businesses to be featured on the "commerce quilt."
Kathmandu Momo Station offers Nepalese themed momos and Burmese ramen, fish ramen pictured, at their brick and mortar location in the Blackstone neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan performed during the ArchOmaha Unite event in front of thousands of catholics at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Jeremy Caniglia of Omaha, held an umbrella to shield Josephine Lohmeier of Omaha, a woman he calls his great aunt from the sunshine while watching bocce ball competition during the 95th annual Santa Lucia Italian Festival at the Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
From left to right, Chuck Vacanti, Larri and Joe Caniglia, Alyssa Turnquist, Jerry Caniglia and Mike Ferro chat while attending the 95th annual Santa Lucia Italian Festival at the Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Detroit Tigers' Blaine Hardy kissed his 6-month-old son Griffin prior to the Major League Baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Major League Baseball debuted in Omaha on Thursday June 13th as the Royals faced the Tigers at TD Ameritrade Park.
Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera signed autographs for fans prior to a Major League Baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
All eight College World Series baseball teams, Texas Tech, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Auburn and Louisville joined the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers on the field for the National Anthem prior to the first ever Major League Baseball game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Kansas Cityâ€™s Nicky Lopez hit a second inning solo home run on front of Detroit catcher Grayson Greiner at TD Ameritrade Park on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Detroitâ€™s Miguel Cabrera fouled a ball over his shoulder in the fourth inning at TD Ameritrade Park.
Pat McPherson of Omaha, who waited in line to get autographs from the Michigan baseball team, said he has been coming to the College World Series for about 20 years. He said the College World Series pins on his hat span a time of about 15 years.
Arkansas' Kevin Kopps warmsed up his arm during practice at TD Ameritrade Park for the College World Series.
Mississippi State's Cole Gordon wore his glove on his head during the College World Series practice day at TD Ameritrade Park.
Omaha Burke's Jaylon Roussell jogged the field people to participating in the Nebraska Cornhuskers Friday Night Lights event at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Lincoln Southeast's Xavier Trevino (61) and an athlete not listed on the roster (62) battled one another during a drill while participating in the Nebraska Cornhuskers Friday Night Lights event at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska Cornhuskers' head football coach Scott Frost addressed the prospects who participated in the Friday Night Lights event at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Michigan's Blake Nelson waited in the dugout for game 1 of the College World Series to start.
The National Anthem was played before Texas Tech faced Michigan during their College World Series game.
Florida State's J.C. Flowers lept to make a catch on a ball hit by Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad in the bottom of the second inning during game 2 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Florida State's McGuire Weaver had a catch with right fielder in between innings during game 2 of the College World Series against Arkansas at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Arkansas' Isaiah Campbell delivered a pitch to Florida State's Nander De Sedas during game 2 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Auburn's Will Holland failed to tag out Mississippi State's Jordan Westburg who stole second base during game 4 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Auburn's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, center, cheered with David Ayers, of Gadsden, Alabama during game 4 of the College World Series between Auburn and Mississippi State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mississippi State's Marshall Gilbert, center, celebrated with teammates after his walk off hit in the bottom of the ninth against Auburn during game 4 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Mississippi State defeated Auburn 5-4.
Harrison Richmond of Arkansas caught a piece of popcorn in his mouth thrown by his father Jonathan Richmond before the Arkansas game against Texas Tech during the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Texas Tech's Kurt Wilson fumbled a triple from Arkansas' Casey Martin during a game at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Arkansas catcher Casey Opitz tagged out Texas Techâ€™s Dylan Neuse after a dropped third strike during game five of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Casey Opitz reacted after Arkansas was eliminated from the College World Series in game 5 against Texas Tech at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Texas Tech eliminates Arkansas after an 5-4 win.
Arkansas' Trey Harris walked back to the locker room after Arkansas is eliminated by Texas Tech during game 5 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Louisville's Adam Elliott warmed up before the start of game 7 of the College World Series.
Amy Koski, left, wiped the face of her son Brody while nephew Michael Davis and husband Matt Koski watched the field before game 7 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Auburn's Rankin Woley slid into the fence while catching a foul ball for an out in the third inning.
Auburn's Will Holland reacted to being thrown out at home plate in the third inning in game 7 of the College World Series.
Kim Kline of Omaha watched game 7 of the College World Series though his plastic poncho as rain poured down. The game was stopped at the end of the fourth inning because of the weather.
Louisville right fielder Drew Campbell made a diving catch for the final out of the fourth inning of game 7 of the College World Series.
Louisville's Danny Oriente rubed the beard of Alex Binelas prior to resuming game 7 of the College World Series against Auburn at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Edward Francis, 10, of Goldsboro, North Carolina celebrated after recovering a foul ball alongside his family during game 7 of the College World Series between Louisville and Auburn at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Auburn's Matt Scheffler and Edouard Julien reacted to being eliminated by Louisville during game 7 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Vanderbilt's Walker Grisanti and Kiambu Fentress played rock, paper, scissors in between innings during game 8 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Florida State Head Coach Mike Martin tipped his hat and thanked the crowd after losing to Texas Tech during game nine of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. It was his final game.
Will Bolt, left, who is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's new baseball coach, posed for pictures with Bill Moos, who is the athletic director of UNL, during a press conference.
Kent Bellows Mentoring Program students spray painted murals on the bottom of the large grain silos near S. 35th Street and Vinton Street in Omaha, Nebraska.
Kent Bellows Mentoring Program students, Gabrielle Washington, 17, alongside artist mentor Hugo Zamorano, and other students Abby Patterson, 17, and Mahala Bush posed for a portrait while spray painting murals on the bottom of the large grain silos near S. 35th Street and Vinton Street in Omaha, Nebraska.
Louisvilleâ€™s Nick Bennett wrote in the dirt on the mound before the game against Mississippi State during game ten of the College World Series.
The Louisville bench celebrated Jake Snider scoring the tying run on a hit by Danny Oriente as Mississippi State catcher Dustin Skelton canâ€™t handle the throw in the ninth inning during game ten of the College World Series.
Louisville's Jake Snider reacted to scoring run off of a hit from teammate Danny Oriente to tie up game 10 of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.
Louisvilleâ€™s Danny Oriente scored the winning off of a hit by Drew Campbell in the ninth inning against Mississippi State during game ten of the College World Series.