Clark County’s deal with Republic Services a money loser

Clark County is losing money from its own franchise agreement with Republic Services, the only waste-disposal company allowed to collect municipal solid waste from county businesses.

Under a 1993 franchise agreement between the county and what is now the Republic Services-owned Apex landfill, the county receives 4 percent of gross monthly revenue from tipping fees, or the fee of dumping waste into Apex landfill.

But many other waste collection and hauling companies are choosing to drive two and half hours to a landfill in Lincoln County rather than use Apex because they say Republic’s tipping fee is too high.

As a result, Clark County gets less revenue — though how much is unclear.

That’s revenue that would go into the county’s general fund.

“It could go to police, it could to to fire, it could go to adoption services, foster care, senior programming, parks and rec,” said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. “Even a few hundred thousand makes a difference, that could add a bathroom to a park for heaven’s sake.”

The county is losing money because of what Giunchigliani describes as a “glitch” when the commissioners amended their contract with Republic Services in 2005.

The amendment allows Republic Services to compete with companies in the private construction and demolition market while simultaneously allowing Republic Services to set its own rates for competitors at its Apex landfill. Apex is the only landfill in Clark County, and the franchise agreement states that Republic Services has the “sole right to set and collect tipping fees.”

Republic Services has an internal rate that it charges itself for disposing of waste into the landfill, but Clark County doesn’t know what that rate is. Nor would Republic Services disclose that rate to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The posted gate rate for other companies is $37.54 per ton.


“They can charge whatever they want, raise the fee whenever they want, and that’s one of our big issues that we have,” said Chris Darling, manager at A Track Out Solution, which competes with Republic Services in the construction and demolition market.

“I understand that the franchise agreement says that they’re allowed to set their own rates, but at the end of the day that’s when they had no competition (1993) and they were the only company providing a service for both C&D (construction and demolition) waste and MSW (municipal solid waste) in Clark County,” Darling added.

It would cost Darling $938.50 to dispose of a 25-ton transfer truck filled to capacity at the Apex landfill. Instead, he uses the Western Elite landfill in Lincoln County, where it costs $647.50 for the same service.

Norberto Madrigal, co-owner of Lunas Construction Clean-Up, said the company has a three-year commitment with Republic to dump at least 4,000 tons of solid waste per month at Apex at a rate of $28 per ton.

“But we recently found out that another waste hauling company is receiving a substantially lower rate of $21.49 per ton,” Madrigal said. “If I have an agreement with Republic Services and they told me that we are supposedly getting the best price, and then we find out that they’re getting this great price, a much better price, it’s very frustrating.”

Republic Services consultant Bob Coyle, a former vice president of the company, told the Clark County Board of Commissioners on March 1 that Republic offers companies a volume discount of $34 per ton for a commitment of disposing 751 to 1,750 tons a month; $30 per ton for a monthly commitment of 1,751 to 4,000 tons; and $28 per ton for anything over 4,000 tons per month.


Aside from Lunas, all other private construction and demolition companies with a sorting and recycling facility in Clark County make the drive to Western Elite’s landfill in Lincoln County because of its lower gate fee.

Tim Oudman, market vice president for Republic Services in Nevada, said the company sets its rates based on what produces the best return on investment and what the market will allow.

“We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in just the landfill infrastructure between here and all the indemnification that we had at Sunrise landfill for the county,” Oudman said. “We need to recoup our investment on that so we’ve set prices, we’ve set a gate rate there and there is a competing landfill in Lincoln County. So, to drive tons there, they’ve obviously made a decision to set pricing how they deemed necessary to get business.”

It’s difficult to quantify how much additional revenue Republic Services could be giving to the county if more companies that collect and haul construction and demolition waste were to use the Apex landfill.

“I don’t care if it’s $5,” Giunchigliani said. “It’s the principle of it as well as the fact that there’s a franchise agreement and they should not be raising tipping fees so they pay us less on that 4 percent.”

Even if that is not the intention of Republic Services, the company should at least be charging itself the same tipping fee as it charges others to use the landfill, she said.

“That’s a loss of franchise collections,” she said.


Several companies that collect and haul construction and demolition waste cite the high gate fee at Apex landfill as evidence of being pushed out of the market.

Kam Brian, the chief operating officer at Las Vegas landscaping company Par 3, said he sold the dumpster and recycling part of the landscaping company to Western Elite last March because of Republic Services’ high tipping fees and its increasingly low dumpster servicing rates.

“We were forced to make a decision as to whether we wanted to stay in a business where our competitor controlled the market — and because Republic Services has the only landfill in the county, and they own that landfill, they could charge whatever they wanted. When the economy took a dive in Las Vegas, Republic Services got really aggressive in their dumpster pricing.

“Their (dumpster) pricing went way down (to compete more aggressively) and their landfill prices went way up,” Brian said.

Oudman acknowledged landfill prices have gone up because of the investment the company has made in the landfill. He declined to disclose dumpster pricing.


According to a 2015 study by Applied Analysis, commissioned by three of Republic’s competitors in the private C&D market, Republic Services may also be overcharging the county for its dumpster service in the franchise agreement.

Republic Services charges Clark County $352.45 for an on-call 40 cubic yard dumpster service for municipal solid waste, but it’s able to charge less for the same service in the private construction and demolition market. Invoices obtained by the Review-Journal show that Republic is charging one private company $280 and another $285 for the same service.

“In some cases (the rate is the same); in some cases not,” Oudman said. “Same type of trucks, same type of boxes, but we evaluate the C&D piece based on job location and job type. We can’t do that under the franchise. We need to use an average rate for lots of different loads.”


Applied Analysis Principal Jeremy Aguero said the inconsistency between the cost of providing service in the franchise agreement and the cost of providing service in the private market “is relatively problematic.”

“The fundamental question is a very fair one as to why there is a disparity between what the cost is of providing those services, and what the charges are that are held out to one group, the public, and to the other group, the government,” he said.

Contact Nicole Raz at or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

The waste advantage

Republic Services is allegedly using its exclusive franchise agreement with Clark County to create an unfair competitive advantage in construction and demolition waste. As of 2005, Republic Services competes with private companies to service construction and demolition waste. Below is a breakdown of how:

Once a dumpster is full or the dumpster rental period expires, either Republic Services or a private company will haul the waste away. This is how the process differs between the companies.


Sources: Clark County; Republic Services; *Applied Analysis

Nicole Raz, Gabriel Utasi/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like