from Orcas Recycling Services Board of Directors
In August the San Juan County Council asked County staff to negotiate two contracts, one with Orcas Recycling Services (ORS) and one with Cimarron Trucking, to satisfy the requirements of their recent RFP for the Orcas Solid Waste Transfer Station. County staff members recently met privately and jointly with ORS and Cimarron in negotiations closed to the press and public. After two meetings with ORS present, these negotiations concluded on September 6.
Orcas Recycling Services proposed a split of the revenue-generating aspects of the transfer station: ORS to operate the tipping floor and scales, and Cimarron to continue to provide trucking and disposal services as they have in the past.
Both County staff and Cimarron proposed, instead, that Cimarron Trucking be contracted for all major revenue-generating aspects of the transfer station, including the tipping floor, and that ORS provide reuse and recycling services.
On September 7 San Juan County staff submitted a draft ORS Contract Staff Report to its Council, stating “No agreement regarding the appropriate division of services between the vendors was reached” and recommending that Cimarron Trucking be granted the contract for the tipping floor at the Orcas Transfer Station.
A statement by the Orcas Recycling Services Board of Directors on September 8 says:
“The problem is that what they propose is not a viable business model for ORS. Our model is designed to reduce the amount of solid waste shipped off island in the long term, and serve our County’s adopted goals. Without the revenue generated by garbage, recycling (generally) loses money, although it may pay for itself over time, given funding to explore and build a variety of up-cycling revenue streams. This is why it is critical for ORS to operate the Orcas Transfer Station and use tipping fees to support reuse, recycle and up-cycle revenue stream development.
The ORS not-for-profit business model for the transfer station specifies local jobs and services, lower rates for citizens, profits re-invested into the community, education programs, and innovative processing systems chosen for their efficiency.
If Cimarron is granted the contract for the tipping floor, tipping fee revenues (as much as $1.5 million per year) will leave San Juan County, and our rights to self-determination will be lost.”**
Mark DeTray, Executive Director of Orcas Recycling Services, says :
“If garbage and recyclables are separated into two operations, the overall cost to the end user is significantly higher due to the need to pay for two managing bodies. Tip fees would need to be set higher for recyclables, undermining any economic incentive to recycle. Our concern is that the public receive as many quality options and absorb as few costs as possible in future Orcas transfer station operations. We invite further discussion to examine all scenarios, including shared operations, which would both “pencil out” for ORS and be of service to the County and its citizens whose goals we share: reduce, reuse, recycle.”
This Tuesday, September 11, the San Juan County Council will address and, presumably, take action on the staff recommendations.
To lend your support by this important deadline, please contact all County Council members with your comments today, and join us Tuesday, September 11, at 3 pm, in the Friday Harbor County Council Chambers, across from the County Courthouse. (You may wish to join us earlier, at 2:45, when the Council is expected to adopt the new Solid Waste Plan for San Juan County.)
For relevant facts and current information from the ORS Update and Call to Action, please visit the ORS website and follow The Exchange on Facebook.
**From the final draft of the San Juan County Solid Waste Plan: Goal 9.C. Provide island communities with greater opportunities for self-determination. Develop opportunities for more local control of operations, including. . . partnerships with not-for-profit organizations.”