West Central truck (copy)

In July, Minnesota-based West Central Sanitation showed city officials how its fleet can maneuver in tight spaces.

The author, of Willmar, Minnesota, is president, CEO and owner of West Central Sanitation.

West Central Sanitation has committed to providing better, safer, cheaper and more efficient collection service to the city of Omaha.

We spent two years learning the city. We went through every troublesome alleyway with hand-held poles, cut to the width and height of our trucks. We verified our automated service vehicles can be used in all of Omaha. Since then we have gone further, bringing three collection vehicles to Omaha and deploying 100 carts in tight alleyways, demonstrating that the form and method of collection we have proposed is, indeed, a viable and workable option. We have shown we can deliver on our bid.

The City of Omaha is required to pick the lowest and best bid when selecting contractors and vendors. WCS and Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas of Spain recently submitted bids for Omaha’s 10-year trash collection contract. WCS is the lowest, and we believe the best.

WCS has been collecting solid waste in the United States and the upper Midwest since 1979. As a family business, we bring a high attention to detail and exceptional customer service. As evidence, we now serve over 150 communities and currently retain every municipal contract we have ever been awarded. As a Minnesota company, we know the Midwest and its challenges, including proper operations in cold, icy and snowy weather.

The City Council will make a final decision on bids on Tuesday. A recent World-Herald article stated the council has eliminated all but two bids. These final bids provide a 96- or 48-gallon cart for weekly solid waste pickup and a 96- or 48-gallon cart for every-other-week recycling.

The difference is the approach to yard waste. Under our primary bid, WCS would provide a third cart for yard waste and composting for 35 weeks, with year-round employment for all yard-waste drivers, and utilize 22 vehicles. Our total bid price, which includes yard-waste service, is $22,157,181.

Under its supplemental bid, FCC would provide unlimited collection of yard waste and composting for no more than eight to 12 weeks a year using temporary workers and 20 vehicles. The total cost of FCC’s bid is $24,185,046.

Several environmental groups, including the Sierra Club of Omaha, consider our plan to be more environmentally friendly. The WCS plan comes with a cost savings of more than $20 million to Omaha taxpayers over the term of the contract; this is more than what Omaha currently pays for one full year of collection, right now.

HDR Engineering Inc. conducted an independent review of our bid. HDR found us to have a well-prepared rollout plan for our automated collections, a reasonable operating plan and a well-thought-out recruitment plan. Our budgets for labor, equipment and general operations were also found to be reasonable. Our banks have provided assurances that they stand by us and are ready to provide any necessary funds. We are adequately resourced to service Omaha.

Employee recruitment is important; hiring drivers has been a challenge for Omaha’s current contractor. Part of our solution is simple: As a family-owned company, we treat our employees well. We pride ourselves on having a good safety record and high driver retention.

Our reputation is our most prized and hardest-earned asset. If chosen, we will provide a successful transition of service on day one, and every day thereafter.

It would be our honor to serve the people of Omaha. We ask you to contact your council representative, encouraging them to do what is right and to choose the lowest and the best bid. Put us to work, Omaha.

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