Trash hauler says city unfairly undercut his bid

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A difference of $13 meant thousands of extra dollars in revenue for the city of Craig, and thousands of dollars less revenue for a new start-up business in Northwest Colorado.

At a meeting this week, the Moffat County commissioners awarded a $5,544 bid to the city of Craig for trash removal at nine county sites.

Old West Sanitation missed the bid by $13, coming in at $5,557.

Waste Management bid $10,439.

The county took bids for services for the remainder of 2003.

Steve Durbin, owner of Old West Sanitation, said he was surprised that the city came in with a lower bid than he did.

He said he was surprised that the city offered to provide service at four of the nine sites for free. Those sites included the South Annex, the Luttrell Barn, the Road and Bridge Department and the Maybell Road and Bridge Department.

Durbin said he thought the city was trying to run a private business -- out of business.

"How can you operate four out of the nine (sites) for free when you couldn't afford to operate at $25 a ton a month ago?" he said.

Durbin was referring to an issue last month in which the county decreased its fees at the landfill

from $25 a ton to $22.50 a ton in order to keep the city of Craig from taking its business to the Milner Landfill.

The bid approval this week for trash removal at county sites was the result of a dispute over trash removal at the Public Safety Center this winter. It was discovered that the county was paying both Waste Management and the city of Craig to remove trash at the facility.

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead had signed a contract with the city of Craig when a contract was already in place with Waste Management through the Moffat County commissioners.

In order to avoid paying double for trash removal at the safety center, County Attorney Kathleen Taylor was asked to investigate all county contracts.

She found that the county had three-year contracts at numerous sites with Waste Management.

But state law dictates that counties can only sign one-year contracts, voiding those contracts with waste management.

So the service was put out to bid, resulting in the granting of the contract to the city of Craig this week.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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