Five bidders for Santa Rosa’s garbage contract

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Five companies are bidding to take over Santa Rosa’s lucrative garbage contract, including the San Francisco firm buying the county’s dominant garbage hauler.
Nine companies had expressed interest in bidding for the exclusive right to collect garbage, recycling and yard waste from Santa Rosa homes and businesses.
But by the time Monday’s 3:30 p.m. deadline arrived, just five companies had submitted bids to the city, said Gloria Hurtado, deputy city manager.
The contract held by The Ratto Group since 2003 runs out at the end of 2017.
“I think five is a really good number,” Hurtado said. “There are some national companies and some more local groups, so I think it’s a good combination.”
The bidders include Recology, the San Francisco-based company which last week agreed to purchase Ratto’s entire North Bay operation, including contracts for eight of the nine Sonoma County cities and its unincorporated areas, plus Novato and West Marin.
Another is Waste Management, the massive Houston-based company that served Santa Rosa for 33 years as Empire Waste Management before James Ratto, using a combination of low rates and political influence, convinced the city to turn the contract over to him. Waste Management subsequently got out of all its contracts in the county.
Also in the hunt are Green Waste Recovery of San Jose, which serves a number of communities in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Cruz and Monterey counties; Waste Connections Inc., a Toronto-based company with operations in 37 states and Canada; and Sonoma County Resource Recovery, a new partnership about which Hurtado had no additional information, but which sources say includes Marin County garbage interests.
City staff are reviewing the bids, and will schedule interviews with the companies, visit their existing operations and then present their findings to the City Council sometime in April.
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