The pre-proposal conference was intended to allow venders to ask questions. A brief summary of the meeting follows. Mr. Dayton ran through the Agenda provided, discussing:
- RFP limitations on landfill infrastructure (connections to water and sewage are insufficient to support any processes, RFP page 14). The selected vender would have to address them in their proposal. I asked who would pay for improving them, the bidder or taxpayers, and a completely ambiguous non-answer was provided.
- Timetable: Proposals received (August 5); Vendor Questions submitted (July 29), with answers posted on the Stafford website; Board briefing(Aug 21); down selection of a few winning venders (September); Award (November). Then comes the Environmental Study, contract negotiations, and a contract signing. The entire process will be “lengthy” and over a year, per Mr. Dayton. He did not state when that year started, but it was clear that the contract will not be operational by the end date of Cell F1 at the landfill. So a new Cell F2, MUST be built regardless of whether they build an incinerator or not. That new cell is estimated to last 7 years whether an incinerator is built or not.
Questions arose like:
- What happens if the contract is “terminated for convenience”. That clause means that Stafford/Fredericksburg can terminate the agreement at any time, for any reason. The contract would state how much damages the landfill would have to pay.
- What happened with the previous EEP award? Mr. Dayton stated that the Board of Supervisors weren’t happy with the results. (An EEP representative was there.)
- Someone asked whether, given the outcry last time, will a representative of the public be on the evaluation team? Answer: No.
- What economic controls are on the landfill? Answer: only the tipping fees, and a current prohibition against importing garbage from outside the jurisdiction. So the reason truckers haul garbage to this landfill are the low tipping fees. This makes venders nervous because they need a predictable and fixed waste stream to bid. (See the next question.)
- CRITICAL: Will the City/County commit to provide a specific amount of garbage each day/week? This was not really answered. These type commitments have caused many cities and counties to be on the verge of bankruptcy, as there are penalties imposed on the landfill if sufficient garbage isn’t brought to the landfill.
- Has a study been done to determine what the impact would be on the landfill operational costs if most of the garbage went to the vendor? The answer was no.
- Will there be any changes to the policies for the 25% of garbage brought to the landfill for free by residents? Answer: The R-Board is currently re-evaluating those policies. Mr. Dayton wouldn’t say what they are thinking of doing.
- Will there be changes to the current recycling policies? Depends on the proposals received. They could be changed.
- Has a study been done to identify the “quality and volume of the waste streams”? (I assume that means its suitability to burn). Answer: No, but if the vendor wants that information, the bidder could coordinate with the R-Board and do it themselves.
- Is landfill budgetary data available on the website? Yes, but the R-Board will make it easily available for the last 2 fiscal years.
I asked about the acid sulfate soil problem (see RFP page 14), where the RFP says that the R-Board makes no warranties about the land offered for lease. Answer: If a vender is concerned about it, they can do the analysis of the soil with the cooperation of the R-Board, at the vender’s expense.
I also asked who would pay for any needed connections to the water and sewage lines, water treatment plant improvements, and road improvements, if needed for the plant. The answer was vague and unclear, with Mr. Dayton stating it would depend upon the proposal.
I mentioned this website had lots of information about why the last proposal went into oblivion.
We then took a drive to the commercial side of the landfill. The most revealing information to me was to see the single stream recycling operation. Trucks bring unsorted recyclables into the landfill, and dump it on the floor of a large shed. It was pushed up a conveyer belt for loading into a truck that brings it to a wholesaler. Revenue is down for this because all sorts of recyclables are mixed together.