Thank you for all of your phone calls, e-mails, and notes concerning the trash and recycling program. Unfortunately a Township cannot just call companies and get estimates on items that we anticipate will come in over $20,000. We can’t just choose a vendor or bargain with vendors. We are required by law to follow a process for receiving bids. In preparing a Bid Package you try to think of all the different scenarios and conditions that might affect what you are trying to achieve.
I’ll use the Carts as an example of some of the process that goes into putting a Bid Package together.
Scenario #1 – Residents are provided a cart in one of three sizes.
Scenario #2 – Residents purchase their own carts that meet the trash vendor’s requirements.
Scenario #3 – Residents have a choice of a provided cart or provide their own cart that meets the trash vendor’s requirements.
Scenario #4 – Residents have no choice – all receive the 36 Gal. cart.
Scenario #5 – Residents have no choice – all receive the 64 Gal. cart.
Scenario #6 – Residents have no choice – all receive the 96 Gal. cart.
Each one of these scenarios has conditions that need to be taken into consideration.
- If the cart is provided, is it considered to be owned by the Township or the Vendor (This is important because it determines who is responsible for damaged carts)?
- What happens to the cans/carts being used now?
- Will provided carts be delivered to each residence or must the residents pick them up?
- At the end of the contract what happens to the carts? (If owned by the Township, hopefully whomever wins the next contract would be able to use them, thereby removing new carts as a bid item for the new contract. If owned by the vendor and this vendor doesn’t win the new contract then they would have to be picked up and the cost of new carts included in the new bid.)
- If carts are provided, are the residents given the carts as part of their yearly service fee or will they be charged a rental fee in addition to the service fee.
- What happens if the winning company fails to meet the contract provisions during the time the contact is in effect? What will the penalties be and what opportunity/time frame will they be provided to get back “in-line”.
Each item in the bid (bulk item handling, pick-up frequency, what will be picked up, what to do about extra trash or extra recycling, etc.) goes through the same process. So you are correct in a sense of this being an “egg/chicken” situation. We have to try to anticipate all scenarios and conditions, so that the ones that are right for the most will be presented for bid. The Township Manager and office staff are tasked with researching and pulling together the information to be presented to the Board of Supervisors. The Board then decides which scenarios/conditions are to be included in the Bid Package. Once the Supervisors have made their decision a Bid Package is prepared. It is given to the Township Solicitors to review that it is legally in compliance. When the review is finalized a Bid Notice is placed in local papers and sent to several trade platforms. This notice lets vendors know what is being bid, where the Bid Package can be gotten and when/where the bids will be opened.
Whether a company submits a bid is entirely up to the company not the Township. Each company will present a bid covering the exact same criteria. Bids must be received by the date/time stated in the Notice and Bid Package. Any bids received after that date or time cannot be considered. A company wins the bid if they come in as the low bidder for the overall contract, unless reason (such as poor past performance) can be presented that cause the Supervisors to believe the company will not be able to fulfill the contract requirements. If this happens the winning bid goes to the company that came in second.
There are 1,987 households in the Township. Not everyone agrees or wants the same things. Can we make 100% of the residents happy? Probably not, but we believe we can and will continue to try to get close and so we refuse to take the stand that many of the surrounding municipalities have taken, which is “This is what you get – 96 gallon cart, no input, no choices.”
We don’t mind the questions – some have given us an insight into things we hadn’t considered and are now going to be included in the items presented to the Supervisors for consideration.
We know it is frustrating not to get all the answers to the questions you are asking, but right now we don’t have all the answers due to the nature of the bid process. While we have a “feeling” for how some of the items will be presented in the Bid Package that is all it is at this time. The answers will be determined by what is finally bid and won. As soon as we have the answers we will issue another mailing and update the website.
Original post 8/26/2019: Within a Township, services such as Trash and Recycling must be put out for Bids. Lower Heidelberg Township’s contract with Waste Management ends at the end of this year. We are now in the process of putting together a Bid Package so Trash/Recycling haulers can submit bids. The card requesting you to pick cart sizes is so that we have an idea of how many of each size need to be requested in the Bid.
The Bid package we are under now went to bid five years ago and ends as of December 31, 2019. The cost cannot be kept the same with the same provisions. We are trying to keep the program as close to what we have, but that will not be possible and keep the cost at the same amount. That means some changes will be taking place. We have looked into numerous situations and checked out what other municipalities in this area have for their trash and recycling programs in an effort to find the most reasonable program for Lower Heidelberg Township residents. We’ve found that most of the municipalities have not given their residents any choice on any of these issues. Everyone here at Lower Heidelberg Township wants to allow residents input, as these issues impact you.
For example, one of the programs being considered concerns bulk items. Right now everyone in the Township pays for bulk item removal whether they use it or not. One of the programs being looked at would make it a “per usage” program that is paid for strictly by the resident(s) using it – that is the purpose of the tag. A resident wanting an item to be picked up would come to the Township Office to pay for a tag (prices would be determined based on the final bid). The resident would take the tag home and put it on the item to be picked up. Township personnel would call the trash/recycling company for the pick up.
Of the three size carts, there is no difference in price to the resident. The 96 gallon one is the most cost effective in the long run because everything will need to be in the cart for pick up. If items can’t fit in the cart (whether trash or recycling) you will need to pay for a tag to put on the extra amount, because this would require a manual pick up costing more.
Several scenarios will be presented to the Board of Supervisors to review and they will choose which one(s) to put out for bid. Nothing can be finalized until the bidding process has been completed (which will not be until later this year). Once the bidding is over, we will send out information on the complete program. Right now to do so would complicate the situation since we don’t know what the final bid will encompass in the end.