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After reviewing proposals, La Joya will stick with garbage contractor

After reviewing proposals for garbage collection services, the city of La Joya plans to negotiate a new contract with the current provider.

The La Joya City Commission voted 3-0 on Tuesday to negotiate a new contract with Waste Connections of Texas-RGV, which is headquartered in Edinburg.

lajoyalogonewMission-based RGV Metro Waste, which serves about 5,000 rural Hidalgo County residents, and San Antonio-based ACI Recycling and Disposal, which provides service to Edcouch, also submitted proposals.

“Waste Connections was the lowest bidder of all three of them,” said La Joya Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas. “And they did go lower than the previous contract.”

City Commissioner Mary Salinas, the mayor’s wife, motioned to accept the proposal “contingent upon the negotiating fees between Waste Connections and the city of La Joya.”

Waste Connections submitted a solid proposal, but the company wants to charge higher fees for brush collection, Mayor Salinas said, adding that La Joya will attempt to negotiate lower rates.

What, exactly, Waste Connections would charge La Joya under the new contract wasn’t available Tuesday.

When the city solicited proposals, La Joya published a legal notice that stated “proposals will be opened and read publicly” at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10.

La Joya, however, didn’t actually read the proposals aloud on Sept. 10. The Progress Times submitted a public information request for the proposals Tuesday after the City Commission voted to negotiate a new contract with Waste Connections.

Garbage is big business for La Joya.

Waste Connections charges the city a minimum of $7.49 per month for every residential garbage container and $3.46 per customer for residential brush collection, according to the current contract, which Mayor Salinas signed in 2012. Waste Connections may adjust the rates based on fuel prices.

Residents pay the city $14.55 for residential garbage collection and $4.46 for residential brush collection every month.

La Joya pockets the difference, which subsidizes city services.

Mayor Salinas said La Joya doesn’t plan to pass along the savings to residents by lowering garbage rates. However, revenue from the new contract will support city services — and may ultimately avoid the need for higher property taxes and fees.

Along with lower rates, the new contract will include service for Havana, a rural community recently annexed by La Joya.

“We’re paying $14 in La Joya. They’re paying over $28,” Mayor Salinas said. “So they’re anxious to get into our contract so they can pay half of what they’re paying now. And, of course, they don’t have brush pickup out there.”

After the annexation, La Joya sent city workers to collect brush from Havana residents, Mayor Salinas said. That initiative prompted the city to consider buying a brush truck and hiring employees to provide residential brush collection.

“And if we have our own truck, we could pick up every week,” Mayor Salinas said, adding that monthly brush collection isn’t adequate for many residents.

Mayor Salinas said he anticipates La Joya will approve the new contract with Waste Connections before Nov. 1.

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