MISSION VIEJO : City Will Seek Bids for Trash Hauler

It's been a long time coming, but city officials are getting a chance to shop around for a good price on trash hauling.

On Monday, the council is expected to begin seeking bids from other waste companies. For years, city officials have chafed under a contract with Waste Management that was originally negotiated by county officials before Mission Viejo became a city in 1988.

"I have been a supporter of competitive bidding from Day 1," Councilwoman Susan Withrow said. "Particularly for a contract of this size."

Although the original City Council declined to challenge the original contract in court, Mission Viejo has had a sometimes-combative relationship with Waste Management.

For 18 months, city officials slugged it out with the trash hauler in a dispute over alleged overcharges to Mission Viejo customers. The issue was settled in 1992 when the hauler agreed to $1.2 million in rate rollbacks.

However, Waste Management officials said they've had an excellent relationship with the city since 1992 and have no fear of the competitive-bidding process.

"We're looking forward to it," said Bob Coyle, division president. "We're ready to give the city a strong proposal and continue our contract with Mission Viejo."

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