SeaTac welcomes partnership with CleanScapes
By Shakira Ericksen
After a long period of deliberation, the City of SeaTac bid an emotional farewell to Republic Services and welcomed a new partnership with CleanScapes.
The SeaTac City Council voted unanimously 7-0 to change from Republic to CleanScapes at the Oct. 8, council meeting.
The entire council agreed that Republic was a great partner and gave excellent service, but now it was time to try something new.
“We’re all struggling over this quite a lot,” said Mayor Tony Anderson. “Basically it comes down to the lower rate.”
The City will be saving $1.4 million over seven years which is $200,000 annually.
“SeaTac is not a wealthy community and $1.4 million is a lot of dollars to people who don’t have a lot of dollars,” said Mayor Anderson. “It comes down to more services at a lower rate and what is the greatest good for the most people and I truly hope that CleanScapes will be as good a partner with the community.”
Other councilmembers weighed in on why they decided to go with CleanScapes.
“We’re each elected to spend the constituent’s money in the best way we can,” said Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson.
Deputy Mayor Gregerson said it’s always a struggle when they have to look at the community when it’s intermingled with political will.
“(We) did what’s best for our budget. It’s a business decision, it’s nothing personal. We appreciate everything you’ve (Republic) done for us,” said Deputy Mayor Gregerson. “This is new and scary for us. I think you can see that through our explanations. I think that these decisions sound very simple, we’ve put many, many hours into this, whoever thought garbage was so sexy.”
Councilmember Barry Ladenburg said one of his concerns was whether or not CleanScapes could deliver their contract.
“I went and I actually talked to other city councils and their staff, people in Issaquah, Des Moines and Shoreline to see how the services were,” said Councilmember Ladenburg. “I could not find anyone who had any significant problems with CleanScapes.”
Councilmember Ladenburg said after his research he is confident that CleanScapes is a good choice and that they can deliver.
“Republic has been a great partner but because of that doesn’t mean we can’t allow anyone else to come in here and be a great partner,” said Councilmember Ladenburg. “We can’t say that CleanScapes can’t come here because they haven’t been here that wouldn’t be fair.”
Councilmember Pam Fernald cited CleanScapes youth and enthusiasm as her reason for the switch.
“They have a passion for garbage, they just seem like gung-ho kids, that’s the impression I keep getting,” said Councilmember Fernald. “They’re young, I’m feeling that they’re hungry, I like the energy. I’m willing to give them a shot. Citizens if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be moving out of town I guess.”
Councilmember Dave Bush said the vote was very hard for him and that the reason he’s supporting CleanScapes is because he’s voting with taxpayers money and not his own.
“I can’t say enough for what they’ve done and they’ve done it from their heart, not their pocketbook,” said Councilmember Bush. “Sometimes I ask myself if the savings we’re going to get on this is worth the change. If I was voting with my heart I’d vote for Republic in a minute because they’ve stepped up to this community. It’s so hard to get businesses in this community to step up and help our kids.”
Republic Services, Inc. was incorporated in 1998. Through a series of successful mergers and acquisitions, they quickly expanded to become one of the largest waste and recycling companies in the United States, according to their website.
CleanScapes was founded in Seattle in 1997, and currently provides sustainable solid waste and recycling collection to Seattle, Shoreline, Issaquah, Des Moines and Carnation. Beginning June 1, 2014 CleanScapes will also serve the City of SeaTac and the City of Burien.