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Townsend, Lunenburg jointly pursue new trash service deal


TOWNSEND — In their endless budget battles, Townsend and Lunenburg have joined forces in the search for a better deal on solid waste removal and disposal.

Townsend’s current municipal contract with Allied Waste is nearing its end, but town administrator Gregory Barnes said it was decided to see what other providers might have to offer.

“We had a few years where we’d extended the contract. This year, we felt it was in the town’s best interest to go out for bid,” Barnes said. “We decided to go in jointly with Lunenburg for potential savings.”

The two towns chose to go through the Solid Waste Collaborative, requesting an informal Request for Proposal (RFP) for area “haulers.”

However, they may not remain in tandem in the end as the bidding process allows for combined and separate bids. Barnes explained that the towns went in together in an bid to “tempt more competitive rates.”

The process was conducted on March 28 and four area services submitted bids: G. W. Shaw, Allied Waste, Covanta and Waste Management.

Though he would not outright eliminate any of them from consideration, Barnes said Covanta had only offered a bid for disposal services and the town was “disappointed” in the offer from Waste Management.

“It was significantly greater (than the other offers), almost to the point where one could argue that it’s non-competitive,” Barnes said.

He pointed out that the company’s offer to Lunenburg was competitive, and added that it was “unlikely” the two towns would end up contracted with the same service.

The lowest offer came from G. W. Shaw, an estimated savings of $23,469 compared to the current year’s budget. However, the offer from Allied Waste represented an estimated increase of $50,431, making the total possible savings $73,900 should the town choose to accept Shaw’s bid.

However, Barnes cautioned that the process wasn’t just to get the lowest price, the town also wants a certain level of service as well.

“There are quantitative and qualitative factors to be looked at; there’s some potential for change.”

Barnes cited the possible additional costs of insurance and equipment the companies would require, as well as the importance of experience and the “ability to guarantee disposal or recycling.”

Currently, the bids are being evaluated by the Board of Health, and Barnes said there is still some “war” in the process.

Any changeover would occur on July 1, but Barnes hopes the choice will be made before too long.

“The sooner, the better,” he said.