A citizens group launched a petition Wednesday urging the Las Vegas City Council to put its waste-hauling contract out for public bid.
Republic Services of Southern Nevada is currently the only waste-management company allowed to handle residential trash in the city of Las Vegas — and has been since at least 1985. Four years before the company’s current exclusive franchise agreement is set to expire, Republic is negotiating with the city for an additional 12-year contract extension.
“If they are going to issue another monopoly franchise, it should at least be put out for an RFP (Request for Proposal),” said Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach, a grassroots advocacy organization focused on limited government public policy issues.
“Ideally, they would open up the market completely,” he said. “The odds of that happening, we know, it’s a longshot. That’s why we at least want to force Republic to bid on it like everybody else.”
He said a few hundred signatures would be a win for them, given that in his experience, “not a lot of people get energized over local issues.”
Republic Services spokeswoman Tracy Skenandore said a 12-year contract with the city of Las Vegas generates between $780 million and $840 million in total revenue for Republic Services.
Muth said he’s not sure what impact the petition will have, if any.
“Maybe by bringing a little more attention to it, voters will weigh in. Hopefully the City Council members will take into account what their residents in their districts think,” Muth said.
The Las Vegas City Council is slated to consider Bill 2017-3, a proposed ordinance that will pave the way for a contract extension with Republic, on April 5.
Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross, who sponsored the ordinance, said anybody is welcome to sign the petition but he said people who would do so might be misled to believe that there is another company out there that could provide better service at a lower rate.
“I highly doubt that anybody can compete with what Republic Services is offering to the city of Las Vegas at this point,” Ross said.
On Wednesday, the council will assign the ordinance to a recommending committee, which will hear public testimony, review the ordinance, and decide whether to recommend that the City Council reject, adopt or further deliberate on the proposed ordinance.
Danielle Basson, COO of waste and recycling management company Simple Environmental Services Group, filed a letter of opposition to the ordinance, arguing that it would “directly restrict the operation and expansion” of her company.
Bill 2017-3 would allow Republic to impose new fees at its sole discretion, which “negatively impacts all business owners and residents,” Basson wrote. “Recently, the franchisee stated before Henderson City officials that they view SESG as a competitor, therefore the proposed changes impose a direct and significant economic burden on Simple ESG, as it increase expenses, unfairly.”