VACHERIE — The St. James Parish Council’s Solid Waste Committee recommended the council select two companies to handle waste removal in the parish and in the towns of Gramercy and Lutcher.
The vote marks the first time in 25 years the parish has sought bids on its waste service contract, St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel said during Wednesday’s council meeting.
Councilman Ken Brass, also a member of the Solid Waste Committee, has led the effort to determine whether lower solid waste collection rates could be obtained.
The parish has a solid waste contract with Waste Management, which costs the parish more than $2 million annually and expires Oct. 31, Brass said.
“As a result of the solid waste request for proposal initiative, we are proud to announce an estimated solid waste cost savings of over $250,000 per year, which will ultimately save nearly $1.2 million over the duration of the five-year contract for St. James residents and governmental agencies,” Brass said.
The committee recommended the council select Kenner-based Ramelli Waste LLC for the parish’s collection of residential curbside pickup. Brass also said the committee should consider Allied Waste for the collection and transportation of garbage bins and for landfill use.
Robert Ramelli, owner and president of Ramelli Waste, told the council that selecting his company for the contract would create 20 new jobs in the parish with an annual payroll of $600,000.
“We’re going to become a part of the parish,” Ramelli said.
Waste Management’s Warren Guidry also had a chance to defend his company’s history with the parish and spoke of the company’s reliable “99.97 percent” positive service record, Guidry said.
Brass later asked the council to place a resolution awarding the solid waste contract on the Sept. 5 meeting agenda.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to purchase a fire truck for the Union-Convent Volunteer Fire Department.
The council also voted to set and adjust the 2012 property millage tax at 34.48 mills. All millage rates will remain the same except for road maintenance and road lighting. Those two millages will decrease, said Director of Operations Jody Chenier.
The millage rate in 2012 was 34.5 mills, Chenier said. The millage rate adjustment is expected to net the parish an additional $149,491, Melissa Wilkins said.