FLINT, MI - City officials say two garbage contractors will both be paid for services they provided during a dispute over the city's new waste contract.
However, City Council President Kerry Nelson says he will not support any recommendations to pay Rizzo Environmental Services for garbage pickup that it has done in Flint.
Nelson said Wednesday, Oct. 26, after a special state-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory meeting that he has no plans to support the city paying Rizzo for services under an emergency purchasing order executed by Mayor Karen Weaver.
"There was no emergency, " said Nelson. "The mayor went out and did that on her own. She created an emergency to put (Rizzo) on the streets. So, therefore I am not going to support any resolution coming forth to pay Rizzo. I'm not going to put that on the tax payers of this community."
The issue came up after residents raised questions about two trash haulers on Flint's streets. Both Rizzo Environmental Services and Republic Services have raced to pick up trash in the city for nearly a month - the result of a trash dispute between Weaver's office and the Flint City Council.
RTAB Chair Frederick Headen was asked a series of questions about who will pay Rizzo. Headen told concerned residents their questions were for the city's finance department.
As it stands, Flint's chief financial officer David Sabuda says the city has yet to receive invoices regarding the trash, but when they do there are plans to pay both haulers a portion of the funds for partial work since two haulers are on the streets.
"The invoices will be brought to the transportation department, " Sabuda said. "They will sort through those invoices ... A portion will be paid out (to) one vendor and a portion to the other vendor."
It is not clear as to how the city will determine how much each hauler will receive for their services.
Weaver's administration entered into a two-week $133, 989.57 emergency contract with Rizzo in late September. The administration later entered into another emergency contract after the September agreement expired for another $133, 989.57.Flint city council turns contentious after Eric Mays calls colleagues 'stupid'
At the time, Weaver's office maintained that the city switching to Rizzo would save $2 million over a five-year period, but council members against hiring the company raised questions regarding the company's integrity, ties to Canada and former mayor Woodrow Stanley.
Rizzo is under contract through the emergency purchase order while Republic is under contract from an order from Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah. Weaver's office did send Republic a notice last month saying their services were no longer needed. But, according to both Republic and Farah, the contract, which expires Nov. 11, 2016, could only be canceled by Farah.
Farah has not canceled Republic's deal.
On Oct. 13, Farah declined to grant an injunction request by Republic Services that would have prevented Weaver from terminating its contract with city.
"... (T)he court cannot issue an injunction to prevent contract breach, but rather must deal with the financial consequences of that breach, " Farah wrote in his denial.
Later that day, news broke that Rizzo was at the center of the federal investigation. Since then, two officials from Macomb and Clinton Townships have been arrested, the founder of Rizzo Environmental Services, Chuck Rizzo Jr., has resigned and the company that acquired Rizzo Environmental Services has launched an effort to re-brand the Sterling Heights-based waste removal service.
Within days of the federal investigation news, city officials came to an agreement to offer Republic a one-year contract beginning Nov. 12. It includes an option for the city to extend the contract through 2018.
The Republic agreement, which was approved Wednesday by the RTAB, will cost Flint $3, 736, 032 per year.
Despite the agreement, some residents say they are not happy about the trash battle and believe taxpayers should not have to be responsible for paying two trash haulers.
"I don't think it's fair ... (Weaver) called the emergency and she signed the contract with Rizzo. They don't deserve to be paid and I don't think my tax dollars should go to them, " said Flint resident Nancy Burgher. "Why are they still on our streets?"
Flint resident and vocal Republic proponent Arthur Woodson also addressed concerns about a federal investigation involving Rizzo for alleged corruption and bribery.
"I came before you today to ask about who pays Rizzo ... They're still out here in the streets and somebody has to pay them, " Woodson said. "I don't understand why they are still out here working when they know there is a contract signed now ... Why is our city still doing business with a company that is known as corrupt."