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Council questions if mayor's pick can handle recycling contract

Posted at 6:40 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 19:45:08-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On the agenda for Tuesday's, Omaha City Council meeting was the recycling bid. The city's contract with Firstar Fiber is up this year and the council must decide on whether to renew or go in a different direction.

Nebraskaland Recycling and Waste Management also put in bids.

The council members unanimously decided to delay the vote for at least another two weeks.

Many council members are unsure whether or not Nebraskaland Recycling will be able to handle the city's materials, as their facility is much smaller than Firstar Fiber's. Residents are also concerned that because the facility is in a neighborhood, it will bring litter and traffic.

Nebraskaland's bid is about $1.5 million less than Firstar Fiber's, though.

"I think we have a capable processor right now who has done a good job and is responsible and does handle materials well for the city and has grown in sophistication over time with the operation. But we also have a low bidder being recommended by the mayor’s office who may be at the start of that journey but has a similar processing operation that can probably improve over time and handle this contract at least according to the public works department, finance department and mayor’s office," Councilmember Pete Festersen says.

Mayor Jean Stothert has been a strong proponent of switching to Nebraskaland.

"We all did our site visits, we all did our due diligence, we all got advice from the public works department, they are our experts. We are convinced that not only can they recycle but they could do it in an environmentally friendly way and we also have information that the company we are about to do business with is on sound financial grounds as well and that’s why they are our lowest bid and that’s why they are our best bid and we feel strongly about that," the Mayor's chief of staff, Marty Bilek, says.

Bilek says the Mayor may have to conduct day to day business with Nebraskaland until the council makes a decision.