Kyle talks trash on dais

When it came to talking trash on the dais, the Kyle City Council was full of it Sept. 3.

Discussion about the expiration of an existing contract with Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) for waste services turned into a whirlwind 90-minute debate that at times grew heated. When the furor died down, Kyle city leaders opened a two-month window for city staff to talk with TDS before deciding what the next steps are.

Kyle City Council member Daphne Tenorio said she proposed the discussion with TDS as a way to begin talking with TDS and allow city leaders to express what they might want to see from the company in the future.

TDS’ current contract with Kyle, which was approved in April 2010, expires in 2021. TDS runs trash and recycling services in Kyle, as well as offers trash services during certain events.

Tenorio said she wanted city leaders, as well as City Manager Scott Sellers, to have “carte blanche” in talking with TDS, a company she argued is Kyle’s client and should have first priority as its contract ends. Tenorio said doing so could allow for TDS to offer an “amazing deal.”

“TDS needs to talk with staff and find out what their needs are to see if they can improve services,” Tenorio said.

However, city council member Rick Koch and Mayor Travis Mitchell supported going through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process when TDS’ contract expires. Mitchell said going through with an RFP would allow the city to solicit multiple bids and choose the one it wants. Mitchell also argued that meeting solely with TDS “sends a message” Kyle is willing to negotiate a contract extension without an RFP.

Koch said he wasn’t sure how “amazing” of a deal TDS could offer until the city opens its waste services contract to all competitors. Mitchell said he was told by TDS that the company’s primary objective is to renew its contract without opening up the RFP process.

“I believe TDS has been able to withstand competitive bids and win those,” Mitchell said. “I want to find the lowest and most responsible bidder.”

Sellers said an RFP process is not required and that the city can talk with any vendor it chooses. Several area vendors, including Waste Management, whose representative is Paul Daugereau, a Buda City Council member, and a company owned by former Kyle City Council member Damon Fogley, addressed city leaders during public comment about the desire to provide trash service for the city.

Kyle Mayor Pro Tem Dex Ellison supported talking with TDS officials to get a “baseline” number, but also considered going through the RFP process at the same time.

Should the city go through with an RFP, Sellers said Kyle would need to start the process “soon” to give vendors a chance to begin putting their offers together. 

However, TDS spokesperson Ray Bryant, who was not asked to offer input on the matter until more than an hour into the discussion, said he was uncomfortable with the city talking with TDS and going out for an RFP process simultaneously.

Bryant, a former Kyle city leader and current Buda City Council member, said doing so would be “unfair” as it would make any figures offered by TDS subject to open records.

Bryant somewhat relaxed his stance when city leaders proposed to give TDS a two-month timeframe to discuss its contract before they make a decision on what’s next.

“Yes, we are trying to save money and keep the contract as well, but we want to be fair with you,” Bryant said. “We want to give you the best deal. This is my turf, I want to do what’s good for you.”

However, Koch was committed to opening up Kyle’s waste contract to competition. Mitchell said with more vendors in the area, it could drive companies to offer lower prices.

“I appreciate you (Bryant) coming here and I respect you, but I made it clear that I want to put it out for an RFP,” Koch said.

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