ATLANTIC CITY — City Council postponed a vote to privatize trash and recycling collection Wednesday after council members said they didn’t get a cost analysis before the meeting.
Council pulled a resolution that would have awarded a three-year, $7.2 million contract to Gold Medal Environmental of New Jersey for waste and recycling services. The next council meeting is in three weeks, Council President Marty Small said.
Council members, including Councilman Frank Gilliam, said they never received an analysis comparing the cost of the contract to what the city pays to do the services in-house.
“Between June 8 and today we still have not seen a cost analysis,” Gilliam said, referring to the date last year when council voted to seek bids for the services. “Where is the savings for the city?”
Solicitor Anthony Swan said a cost analysis was sent Wednesday to Councilman Jesse Kurtz, who requested the information. Small and Jason Holt, the city’s business administrator who now works for the state, said an analysis was included in a packet given to all council members.
But other council members disputed this. Councilman Moisse Delgado said the packet had general cost figures, but didn’t have an itemized list showing where the savings came from.
Councilman William Marsh asked if the vote had to occur Wednesday night, and Small then reluctantly pulled the resolution.
“I really wish councilmen would, instead of grandstanding in public and pandering for votes during the election, I wish they would take the time to do their homework,” Small said.
The state took control of the city’s financial decisions in November. Local Government Services Director Timothy Cunningham said so long as there isn’t an expiration date to award the contract, “we’ll let it go through the process.”
Before the meeting, Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement the contract would save the city $1.1 million this year and would not require layoffs of city workers. “We still have other vacancies in Public Works that have not been filled since last June,” he said.
But the union representing the city’s blue-collar workers criticized the contract and questioned how it would save the city money.
Teamsters 331 President Marcus King said the city’s sanitation workers already perform other duties for the Public Works Department, like street cleaning and snow removal. They haven’t had a wage raise in years, he added.
“I still don’t know how the city is saving money by contracting this work out because their sanitation department is their public works department,” he said. “They’re $10 an hour.”
The council also introduced new rules regarding Boardwalk rolling chairs. The ordinance would allow the city to inspect the chairs more frequently, require the pushers to wear uniforms and give the city half of the rolling chairs’ ad revenue, among other changes.
John Taimanglo, owner of Ocean Rolling Chairs, said the same set of rules should be applied to taxis and jitneys too, calling the ordinance “selective enforcement” that could put him out of business.
“It’s not fair,” he said. “Do you get half of the (taxis’) money?”
Council awarded a $385,725 contract to Lexa Concrete for a streetscape in the 1700 block of Atlantic Avenue and a $266,425 contract to Command Company LLC to build a bike loop near the Absecon Inlet.