Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Shoshone County switches recycling contractors amid bid dispute

Staff Writer | June 11, 2024 1:07 AM

WALLACE — In a split vote, the Shoshone Board of County Commissioners opted to award its recycling contract to KP Auto Salvage over incumbent provider MCE Garbage and Recycling, despite concerns about the bidding process and long-term costs.

Commissioner David Dose moved to accept KP's offer of the county retaining 50% recycling profits, which was 10% higher than MCE's bid. He and Commissioner Jeff Zimmerman voted in favor of the change, while Commissioner Tracy Casady abstained, citing a lack of information for a true comparison.

"I believe because of the bid process, we're required to take the better bid on behalf of the county, but I believe in the long run, we're going to lose for the county," Casady said.

MCE had been handling Shoshone County's recycling since 2018. In the past, a company representative has said it sometimes absorbs costs for non-profitable materials like cardboard to support the program. Whether KP will continue to absorb such costs — and how that will affect recycling bills — remains unknown.

"I very much appreciate MCE, but don't know how to evaluate the other contributions," Dose acknowledged.

In an interview following the vote, Casady argued the decision lacked due diligence. She was concerned that "we're going to end up paying more in the long run for this recycling decision that wasn't adequately investigated. You're going to take this bid for 10% difference, but yet we're going to pay out thousands more in the county now," she stated.

The commissioners met with MCE in October to examine contracts and current services. Fluctuating metal prices, recycling's main revenue source, complicated efforts to establish accurate bid baselines.

As the county transitions to KP Auto Salvage, Dose offered parting words to both contractors: "To MCE, thank you for what you've been doing for the county. KP, thank you for what you're about to start doing for the county."