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Kingsport underbids BFI for Mount Carmel garbage contract

Jeff Bobo • Jan 24, 2007 at 11:57 AM

MOUNT CARMEL - Kingsport garbage trucks may soon be picking up garbage in their neighboring town to the west, assuming Mount Carmel can get out of its current service contract with BFI.

Mount Carmel Mayor Gary Lawson said Wednesday the town has received an offer from Kingsport to perform garbage pickup duties in Mount Carmel for approximately $18,000 less per year than what it pays BFI.

Lawson said he has been dissatisfied with BFI's garbage pickup services for quite awhile. In 2003, Mount Carmel's annual bill to BFI nearly doubled from $72,000 to $138,000 and has since increased to $146,073 - not including a varying charge for dumpster pickup. The Kingsport offer, which was presented to Lawson in writing by Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, is for $129,000 annually.

Mount Carmel's garbage pickup contract with BFI expires in 2009, but Town Attorney Joe May told the Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday evening he believes the BFI contract can be terminated by sending BFI a 120-day notice.

"They haven't lived up to their side of the contract, and our attorney thinks we can just give them a 120-day notice and contract someone else to do it," Lawson said. "For one thing, BFI hasn't supplied residential cans the way they should. We went for months without getting any new cans.

"And they're supposed to have a contact for us here in the area, and they moved him to Nashville, so there's no one locally to address our concerns to."

Aside from the lower annual bill, under Phillips' proposal the residential cans would be provided to Mount Carmel homeowners at no cost. Under the BFI contract, local residents purchase their cans from BFI.

The issue was only up for discussion during Tuesday's Mount Carmel BMA meeting, and no vote was taken. Lawson said it will likely be placed on the agenda for the February meeting.

The Kingsport BMA must also approve the deal before Mount Carmel can take steps to terminate its contract with BFI.

"It appears to be a feasible endeavor that would benefit both cities, and I would suggest that we immediately begin working toward a mutually acceptable contract for services," Phillips stated in his letter to Lawson.

There are currently 1,825 garbage customers in Mount Carmel. Initially Lawson approached Kingsport about the possibility of purchasing a used garbage truck so the town could pick up garbage itself.

That led to a conversation with Phillips about contracting with Kingsport for the service.

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