Two waste haulers who submitted bids to the village for a new five-year garbage contract donated campaign money to three village commissioners shortly before a request for proposals was sent out in October of last year, Illinois State Board of Elections records show.
The village’s five-year garbage contract Republic/Allied Waste expired in December of last year. Instead of renewing the contract, the village sought new bids for a new five-year contract to see if they could save money, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian.
Republic/Allied Waste submitted the lowest bid of $601,000 per year for a new five-year contract. The contract would have included free recycling for all village households. The second-lowest bid was Lakeshore Recycling Systems’ bid of $611,639 per year.
Lakeshore and another bidder, Roy Strom Refuse, donated $1,000 each on Sept. 30, 2013 to the Forest Park PAC, a campaign war chest for Mayor Anthony Calderone, Commissioner Mark Hosty and Commissioner Tom Mannix.
Strom donated under the name Refuse Removal Service, Inc. The name is not registered with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, but the company shares a P.O. Box address in Maywood with the Strom company.
Other companies submitting bids for the waste hauling contract were Waste Management and Groot Industries.
But the village council took no action at its April 28 meeting.
The waste hauling contract was tabled by Commissioner Mark Hosty after Gillian and a consultant from the West Cook Solid Waste Agency (WCSWA) recommended the village take the lowest bidder.
Hosty pointed out that condominium buildings privately had made contracts with waste haulers over the years, and he wondered if the contract included all of the condo units in the village. He said it was unclear whether the condos were included the same way in all five bids.
“I’d like to see all four vendors take a swing of what they can do best for Forest Park,” Hosty said. “I’m not opposed to starting over.”
The village council voted unanimously to table the decision on a contract until May 12.
Rich Vandermolen of Allied/Republic, who attended the meeting, said the proposed new contract offered enhancements, including free recycling.
“We provided pricing fully conforming to the village’s spec, which is now public information. There was an RFP; it was a competitive process. It occurred in November, which was almost six months ago,” Vandermolen said.
After the meeting, Gillian said he was confident there would be no need for rebidding the contract.
Gillian said he would be creating a memo that answered questions about the impact of removing condos from the village’s contract.
“My plan, working with a consultant, is to create a memo that answers the questions I heard raised, to make sure they are fully explained and explored,” Gillian said. “I hope to have it in front the council at next meeting.”
If the village council chooses not to accept the bid, they will restart the bidding process.
“I hope that doesn’t happen,” Gillian said. “I will still make recommendation for lowest bid. The low bidder is still the low bidder.”