Lockhart moves forward with CTR for solid waste services
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart City Council on Tuesday considered opening up bids for a new trash services provider, but ultimately opted to remain with Central Texas Refuse (CTR), pending potential negotiation agreements.
Councilmembers voted 5-1 to move forward, with District 3 Councilmember Kara McGregor providing the lone dissenting vote. District 2 Councilmember David Bryant abstained from the vote.
City Manager Steve Lewis touched on the importance of securing dependable solid waste disposal services.
“Solid waste is one of those things that people frankly just take for granted,” said Lewis. “When it’s done in a very dependable way, people don’t really give it a second thought, but it’s such an important part of what the city provides.”
Lewis noted that while the city has contracted CTR for solid waste disposal since 1988, there were four options moving forward, including renewing the current contract with CTR, working with CTR to work out an enhanced contract, issuing a request for proposals to consider alternative bids or requesting additional information to determine the best of the previous three options.
Lewis noted one draw back of issuing a request for proposals was that take it takes staff time and sometimes the hiring of a consultant to get through the process.
“It can be very simple, or it can very complex, depending upon the agreement and depending upon the services we might ask for,” said Lewis.
Representatives from both CTR and Texas Disposal Systems were on hand at the meeting to present their cases to councilmembers to contract their services.
Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales-Sanchez said that while she respected both companies, she ultimately sided with moving forward with CTR.
“The service has been there,” said Gonzales-Sanchez, pointing to a recent merger between CTR and Integrated Waste Solutions Group. “Last year, I considered more than a trial run for you all.
“For the most part, just like every councilmember who sits on this dais, we do hear the good, the bad and ugly from our citizens and constituents and within that year, I was waiting to hear the good, the bad and the ugly, if there was anything. Within that year, I didn’t hear anything negative. If anything, I heard positive.”
McGregor said that while she agreed CTR has done a great job, it wouldn’t hurt to consider other proposals.
“I think it’s been 32 years since we have considered all of options for this contract,” said McGregor. “I absolutely agree that CTR has provided great services to our community and is considered to be a reliable player and partner for us.
“That said, I think it would be lovely to know more about what we’re choosing. And I hear the voices of caution urging us to not rush to change or make changes in a pandemic, and ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it… but I feel that opening it up for a proposal does not necessarily mean that would make a change. I think we would have more clarity about what we’re choosing and potentially with benefit to our citizens.”
District 4 councilmember Jeffry Michelson noted that while he saw McGregor’s point, he didn’t see a reason to move on from CTR.
“You’re right,” said Michelson. “Thirty-two years is a long time, but we haven’t had any problems in 32 years.
“In business, you stay with who helped you, and Central Texas [Refuse] has helped us through the good and the bad times. I’d like us to take the option of having Mr. Lewis negotiate with them.”
Councilmembers ultimately voted move forward with CTR, pending potential contract negotiations.
In other business, councilmembers canvassed the results of the Nov. General Election. No changes were seen on the council, with Mayor Lew White, McGregor and Michelson all retaining their positions.