Mayor Rob Ford's promise to expand private garbage collection in the city's west end has cleared another hurdle, with five bids from companies competing for the seven-year contract.
The five bids – submitted by four firms – range from $17.5-million to $25.6-million and were made public Friday. They are all below the threshold set by city council.
Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the city's public works committee, said he is pleased by the robust response. The bids will be presented to council at its next meeting at the end of October. He expects the contract to start in August of next year, six months earlier than first planned.
City council approved Mayor Ford's plan to privatize trash service for 165,000 area homes in May, but last-minute caveats pushed the anticipated rollout of private trucks to early 2013.
Before the bids go to council they will be reviewed by the city's solid waste and purchasing departments to ensure they meet technical specifications, Councillor Minnan-Wong said.
"We are delighted. We were confident we would get the savings we required," he said.
Under the terms of the deal approved by council, a successful bid can be no more than $25,975,030. The 2011 budget commits $30.7-million to residential waste collection for the same area.
The vote at council next month will come about the same time union officials expect the city to issue bargaining notices on its two biggest collective agreements. CUPE Locals 416 and 79 are bracing for bruising negotiations and a potential lockout in January.
Contracting out is expected to displace more than 300 city workers. The city's bid request states that companies must put forth a plan for how they would use ousted city workers. It sets the minimum hourly wage for private workers at $18.97. City garbage workers make an average of $26.06 an hour.
Under the collective agreement, full-time workers bumped by private workers must be offered another municipal job. That is expected to be a major bargaining issue.
The four firms that bid on the contract, which covers the area of the city west of Yonge Street to the former Etobicoke border are:
Emterra Environmental $23 946 565.72
Miller Waste $20 978 787.46
GFL (Green For Life) $17 471 353.25
Waste Management $23 836 800.00
Waste Management $25 600 723.20 (alternate bid)