Daly City plans to put its garbage and recycling concession out to bid, with the goal of adding a composting program and increasing the rate at which apartment dwellers recycle.
Since many Daly City apartment buildings have trash chutes that don't lend themselves to composting or recycling, City Manager Patricia Martel noted that the city and its sanitation partners will need to explore possible solutions, including a centralized means for collecting a building's compost.
Another concern is that Daly City's Mussel Rock Transfer Station is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain due to land movement caused by coastal erosion. Because finding an alternative to Mussel Rock is a separate matter, Martel said the city is likely to issue its request for proposals in two parts, one covering collection services and the other dealing with post-collection services. It's conceivable that different companies might be chosen to handle the two parts, Martel said.
The city's current contract, held by Allied Waste, ends in June 2015. Daly City plans to issue a request for proposals later this month.
A recent City Council meeting was packed with Allied Waste employees worried about losing their jobs and seniority. John Delucchi told the council he's lived in Daly City his whole life and has been a waste handler for 30 years.
"These drivers have served you faithfully," he said. "Don't let them lose their jobs."
Ahsha Safai, a consultant for Teamsters Local 350, which represents the employees, said his people felt reassured by comments from Vice Mayor David Canepa, Mayor Raymond Buenaventura and Councilman Michael Guingona, who publicly voiced support for the sanitation workers.
Canepa said the request for proposals would stipulate that Allied Waste employees retain their jobs and wages.
"This is about human dignity," Canepa said. "Whatever is decided, they're going to be able to make sure they have their rights."
Canepa summed up his priorities by saying, "What's most important to me in this process is that we're able to get the ratepayers the most service at the lowest price."
Although Safai is reserving judgment until he sees the actual language of the request for proposals, he said the union is encouraged by council members' assurances.
"Without their leadership, we're not sure if we'd be feeling as comfortable as we're feeling right now," Safai said.
If another provider is chosen, City Manager Patricia Martel said, workers are guaranteed employment with the new company for four months. Safai said this is a very common type of transition agreement, and it ensures that workers keep their seniority and aren't forced to re-apply for their own jobs.
Allied Waste General Manager Evan Boyd said his company would love to continue its relationship with the city.
"We think we offer the best recycling and disposal options out there, at the best price," Boyd said. "We can offer Daly City everything they're looking for, and then some. ... We've got state-of-the-art systems. We can offer composting service tomorrow if the city wants it."
San Francisco-based Recology also plans to bid. Spokesman Adam Alberti said he believes Recology can help the city meet its goals.
"We feel we can recover more of what is currently going to landfills for Daly City," Alberti said. "Recology is a waste-diversion company, as opposed to a garbage company."