Halifax regional council has awarded $60 million in contracts for garbage collection, but not all the work will go to the lowest bidder.

There are eight collection zones in Halifax and staff with Solid Waste Resources recommended that five of them go the RE Group because they came in with the lowest prices.

In two of the areas — the Cole Harbour/Eastern Passage zone and the Preston/Lawrencetown zone — there was a slim margin between the lowest and second lowest bids. Councillors stepped in and agreed to award the contracts to the second lowest bidder.

Coun. David Hendsbee said the difference between the two bids — $13,000 — wasn't worth the hassle of breaking in somebody new to take on the route.

"The previous contractor has known this area for a long time, a local employer, a local supplier. They know the geography, knows the people," he said.

Council has some discretion when it comes to awarding garbage contracts, regardless of the price. In order to avoid creating a monopoly, councillors have the option of limiting the number of garbage collection zones for any single company, to three.

So, two contracts went to the second lowest bidders.

Coun. Bill Karsten said that prevents the RE Group from creating a monopoly.

"At the end of the day, they got three good sized contracts," he said. "Allowing just one contractor to have just three areas does give some more competition."

The four-year contracts begin July 1.