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MISSION VIEJO : Council Approves Trash Contract

Refusing to bow to the will of an overflow crowd, the City Council voted this week to award an exclusive contract for residential trash removal to Waste Management Inc.

Notified of the meeting by a citywide mailer sent last week by representatives of Western Waste Inc., a competing trash hauler, the large crowd mainly supported sending out the garbage removal contract for competitive bids.

With standing room only in the council chambers and residents crowded into the corridors and interior offices of City Hall, the council voted, 3 to 2, to approve a contract with Waste Management Inc. of Irvine.

The five-year contract will raise garbage collection rates from $8.73 to $11.85 per household--the highest among Orange County cities. However, the pact will add several new services, including hazardous household waste pickup, a 20% discount for senior citizens and a recycling program.

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Despite pressure from the audience, the council held firm to its July 9 decision to deal only with Waste Management Inc., which has held the contract in the community for about 20 years.

“I’m glad it’s all over,” Councilman William S. Craycraft said. “It’s tiring when issue after issue in this city is like Armageddon.”

Several speakers, including Susan Withrow and Ray Carolin, who are council candidates in the November municipal elections, criticized the exclusive contract, saying the city would get a better rate by allowing competitive bidding.

But other residents supported dealing exclusively with Waste Management, saying the firm has served the city well.

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