The April 5 Las Vegas City Council meeting was filled with fireworks when the council voted to change the city ordinance to allow single-stream recycling. The move allowed the city to adopt a contract extension with Republic Services making it a process that happened without a bid.
There has been a lingering sentiment from the Las Vegas community surrounding the city council’s vote to extend Republic Services’ trash contract through 2013.
“I think anything to do with taxpayer money should be vetted through the public, so to speak,” said Jerry Anderson, a Las Vegas resident.
“Tulsa, Oklahoma had the very same issue about two years ago,” said Pam Iacoe, Las Vegas resident. “They had a monopoly for the trash collection, they put it out to bid.”
Citizen Outreach President Chuck Muth is channeling that sentiment into a possible city ballot referendum.
“It’s not so much that there’s a problem with Republic or with their rates. Nobody’s saying that; the process is what’s wrong,” Muth said.
According to Muth, because the city had the legal authority to put the trash contract out to a public bid, it should have.
“It should have been put out for public bid, especially a contract that’s worth over a billion dollars,” Muth said.
“In this case, there’s a group that thinks the City of Las Vegas got it wrong,” said Bob Beers, Las Vegas City Council.
Beers voted for the contract. He says bids are not required for essential city services.
“In the same manner as sewer service, water service, it’s essentially a government service, and you don’t have a choice really on who is going to provide it,” Beers said.
The petition seeks a vote to overturn a change in city code to allow single stream recycling. However, the thought is if the change is reversed it will nullify Republic’s contract forcing a re-vote by the council.
Depending on how the general election goes next month, there could be enough votes by the new city council to vote it down, or voters would decide in 2019.
“If it goes to a vote of the people, I like our chances that the people are going to say ‘no’,” Muth said.
“The service level is really good, the rates are below average, and so it’s hard to figure out what exactly the opponents here are seeking to improve,” Beers said.
The city clerk tells me the petition would have to get enough signatures to equal at least 15 percent of the voter turnout in next month’s election to get it on the 2019 municipal ballot.
They would have six months to do that from the time they file.