As the assembly works to find a solution for the borough’s expiring recycling contract, its progress is being held up by Alaska Waste, which has first rights to the new contract but hasn’t responded with a firm proposal.
“This thing’s a mess,” assembly member Tuck Bonney said at Thursday night’s borough work session.
After extensive discussion, assembly members reached a consensus: The borough will ask its attorney if the government can submit a request for proposals from others who want the recycling contract.
“I felt like Alaska Waste had been given more than enough time to give us a new proposal,” said assembly member Carol Austerman at the meeting.
For the past several months, the borough has been caught in a vise. Its recycling contract with Threshold Services expires July 1, but Alaska Waste has first rights to the new recycling contract, courtesy of a clause in its contract to provide garbage services to borough residents.
Unilaterally extending Threshold’s contract could leave the borough open to allegations that it is sole-sourcing the contract without consideration of other businesses that may want the contract.
Because Alaska Waste has been slow to respond to borough questions — borough facilities director Woody Koning sent a formal letter in September — the borough has been left sitting still. Until Alaska Waste responds with a yes or no, the borough can’t issue a request for proposals, and the borough risks going without recycling services when the existing contract expires.
If that happens, hundreds of tons of garbage will go into the borough landfill, which is nearing capacity.
“I hope this discussion would dissuade anyone from stuffing that clause in another contract,” said assembly member Mel Stephens.
The borough attorney was traveling on the East Coast and could not be reached for comment, but Koning told the assembly that a formal 10-day period may be required to give Alaska Waste one final chance at the contract.
Assembly members asked whether that was truly necessary.
“I am not supportive of giving Alaska Waste another 10 days unless there is a legal reason,” Austerman said.
She and others believe Alaska Waste has had enough time to respond already, and with a deadline pressing, companies need time to prepare bids and bring up equipment if they win.
Nick Troxell, owner of Nick’s Auto Wrecking Salvage and Metal Recycling, said things can’t be turned around quickly in Kodiak.
“If a person were to receive the contract, it takes time to get equipment shipped up here from the Lower 48,” he said. “I’d like a chance to bid on this contract.”
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at email@example.com.