Windsor city council voted unanimously to retain the contractor responsible for waste collection in the city. 

On Monday, council accepted an administration report that asked council to sign a contract with Green for Life, the company which has been picking up waste since 2010.

"We have been working very well with GFL," said Anne-Marie Albidone, the city's environmental service manager.  "They have been a good contractor, not without hiccups. Certainly our contract does allow us to assess liquidated damages to them when they are not performing, but all in all, I think that the company has been working out very well."

Albidone said the decision to recommend Green for Life came down to costs, even though the new contract represents a 19 per cent increase over what it currently costs. 

The report states Green for Life bid $5.1 million per year for bi-weekly recycling and garbage services, which is the lowest bid in all scenarios. That figure combines a $1.65 million cost for recycling and a cost of $67.77 per tonne of garbage collected.

The next lowest bid came from Emterra, which bid $82.73 per tonne of garbage collected and $2.74 million for recycling.

"Cost is certainly one of the biggest [factors]," Albidone said. "We certainly look at that knowing council is trying to keep a zero-based budget every year going forward."

Union also bid

Public service workers also submitted a bid to land the garbage collection contract with the city.

"Although the union has come to us with a really great proposal and certainly they have sharpened their pencils and they've really come to the table with some creative stuff, unfortunately, it just wasn't quite enough," Albidone said.  

Over the life of the seven year contract, the city would pay Green for Life $38 million while the CUPE Local 82 bid to collect garbage in-house would cost $42 million, the report states.

Those costs included increased up-front costs, like hiring more city workers and new vehicles.

But the bid guaranteed service wouldn't be interrupted over the life of the contact and there is some flexibility over limited bulk garbage pickup, said Robert Kolody, president of CUPE Local 82.

No labour interruptions

Kolody said the guarantee of no labour interruptions is a result of the 2009 strike, which saw garbage pickup and other city services halted for 15 weeks.

The CUPE offer also had a graduated pay scale, which Kolody called "significant."  Under that proposal workers would start at $17.28 per hour and max out at $26.58 per hour.

"I'm not certain, to be honest, we could have done more than what we did," Kolody said. "If you look at what's going to council tonight [with] the graduated pay scale, it's significant."

Council still needs to give its approval before the contract is awarded. Kolody said he maintains hope council will consider CUPE's offer.

"At the end of the day, it can't always be about the bottom dollar, but ultimately that's going to have to be something that council will have to decide," Kolody said.

Read the report below. On mobile? See the report here.