Lowest bidder CR&R; being recommended

City staff members plan to recommend that the Newport Beach council agree to outsource trash services to the company that submitted the lowest bid for the work.

Staff will present to council members an agreement negotiated with CR&R; waste services, whose original proposal would have saved the city an estimated $17 million over seven years, according to an independent assessment.

An 85-page draft of the agreement has been posted on the city's website for review, more than two weeks in advance of the council's next meeting. The council can approve, amend or reject the agreement.

If the council gives the green light, CR&R; would take over refuse collection operations currently conducted by municipal employees. Newport Beach would become the last city in Orange County to outsource its refuse haulers.

Residents have expressed concern that such a change would negatively affect their level of service, though staff members have maintained otherwise.

Currently, most of the city's residents can place refuse outside in whatever containers they choose. Under the draft contract, residents would still be able to leave waste in their own disposable bags or boxes, so long as they weigh no more than 50 pounds, or leave out waste without containers at all.

They would also be able to select a preferred size and number of wheeled, granite-colored carts — roughly 32, 64 or 96 gallons — with hinged, color-coded lids to differentiate between trash and recycling, according to the draft of the agreement.

Those who choose to sort their recycling can leave recyclable items in clear bags, if not in the carts.

CR&R; promises under the document additionally to collect "basic bulky items," such as mattresses and chairs, and to execute special annual programs such as tree collections at Christmas and compost giveaways.

CR&R; would face daily fees ranging from $50 to $250 if the company failed to uphold stipulated standards of collection reliability, collection quality and responsiveness to customers, as outlined in the agreement.

The contract outlines a term of agreement to last seven years, beginning March 31, 2014, with an option for the city to extend the contract by up to three years, according to the draft.

City refuse workers have been promised employment in the Refuse Division through about next summer, when they will be offered voluntary separation with three years of re-employment rights, voluntary separation with a monetary compensation or placement in another city position for an additional 18 months, according to a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Newport Beach Employees League.

Some may also stay on staff to assist with the transition through December 2014.

In the interim, the city promised to open five new city positions to which refuse workers could apply, in addition to opening three positions in the parks division.

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