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MISSION VIEJO : Council May Alter Contract Bid Policy

In response to a controversial decision by the City Council last month to award the city’s trash-removal contract without soliciting competitive bids, council members will hear a proposal tonight restricting such moves in the future.

Under the proposed policy, competitive bids would have to be sought on any city contract valued at more than $100,000.

“I just want to make sure that major contracts are not unduly affected by a single company’s lobbying efforts,” said Councilman Robert A. Curtis, who introduced the proposal. “Good lobbying is not good government.”

Over the objections of Curtis and Mayor Christian W. Keena, the council voted 3 to 2 on July 9 to award the trash contract to Waste Management Inc., which has held the garbage pickup rights in Mission Viejo for almost 20 years.

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In approving the contract, council members said they were pleased with Waste Management’s record.

“Nobody has complained about their service,” said Councilman Norman P. Murray. “I see no reason to go anywhere else and seek the services of another company.”

But Curtis objected strongly to the council’s decision, saying the lack of participation by other companies could cost the city money.

“It’s simply ludicrous to shut out competition,” he said. “The city is never assured of getting the best deal.”

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The contract leaves Mission Viejo with a residential garbage collection rate of $11.85 monthly for each household, the highest residential rate for all cities in Orange County. However, the contract does give the city such benefits as a comprehensive curbside recycling program.


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