DEARBORN HEIGHTS — After months of complaints by residents regarding the service received by GFL, the city council has decided on a new trash hauler.
Green For Life Environment (GFL), a Southfield based company, was first awarded in 2016, despite being more expensive than other bids.
Shortly after the June floods that resulted in trash lined streets, Mayor Bill Bazzi told GFL it needed to get it right or else.
Flood debris lined the streets for weeks while GFL representatives told the City Council and Bazzi that they were struggling to keep up due to staff shortages and vehicle equipment, but were reportedly signing new contracts for other cities in the process.
In September, the City Council agreed to seek bids for a new company to service the residents in solid waste, yard waste and recycling.
The four bidders were Republic Services of Wayne, Waste Management of Michigan in Romulus, GFL and Priority Waste of Clinton Township.
The council members in attendance at the Nov. 9 City Council meeting, Councilman Zouher Abdel-Hak, Councilman Tom Wencel, Councilman Ray Muscat, Councilman Bob Constan and Councilman Dave Abdallah, all voted in favor of the resolution. Councilman Mo Baydoun and Council Chairwoman Denise Malinowski-Maxwell were absent.
Dan Venet, director of municipal relations for Priority Waste, said that the company, while only having developed four years ago, has a strong ideology that it operates by.
“Priority Waste has been in business for just under four years,” he said. “We incorporated in Clinton Township with the ideology that the waste industry had taken a turn for the worse. The service had taken a downturn because the big national chains were all that you had to choose from. We are a local shop owned by CEO Todd Stamper, who has instilled in us, again, to be better every day and to be the best of the service providers in the industry.”
The new contract will save more than $2.3 million over a five year span from what GFL had bid and is a $1.8 million cost save from the current contract held with GFL.
In the meantime, if residents’ trash is not being picked up on time by GFL, we ask residents to call DPW at 313-791-6000 to report this. GFL is still currently obligated to provide services for our residents. — Mayor Bill Bazzi
Priority Waste serves nine communities, five of which are in Wayne County, including Hamtramck and Westland. It also helped cities like Dearborn Heights, Taylor, Inkster and Detroit during the June flooding.
Venet also said that Priority Waste believes in going above and beyond.
“We take pride in providing service that not only is what you have, but exceeds it through being nimble in our service, quick in action and knowing that we live and lay our heads in the communities we service,” he said. “We’re all familiar with the floods of June, July, this summer; we had a number of communities that were hit with difficult times and we stepped up to the challenge. Not only did we continue to perform our routine service, which is the regular service pick-ups, we also took extra steps, went extra days to pick up flood debris that was sitting out at the curb. We also helped Dearborn Heights, Inkster, the city of Taylor, the city of Detroit with their services and it shows that not only will we service the municipalities that are on our roster, we will also step up and help where we can when communities like yours need the help.”
Stamper said he’s confident that Priority won’t have an issue with staffing, as GFL has had.
“Sometimes when you put things together and they work and you treat people right, it’s not hard to attract anything, even if it’s difficult,” he said. “They say money’s a portion of it, and we do pay well, but how you treat people is a little bit different and I think maybe, going to Mr. Mayor’s research in talking to our drivers, when you can keep people excited about coming to work and their love for it and the fact that you can build a good culture, it attracts people. And Priority Waste being around for four years, you gotta think, in a pandemic we added 100 employees. When everybody’s complaining about ‘we can’t get employees’, sometimes you just gotta figure out your business and figure out how to get it done.”
A contract will be drafted up between Priority Waste and the city, which the City Council will then have to agree on. Corporation Counsel Gary Miotke said it is expected to be ready for a vote by the next meeting at earliest. Once the contract verbiage is approved, a 90-day notice can then be provided to GFL.
Bazzi said he expects Priority Waste to take over in February, but did confirm that residents will not need new trash or recycling cans.
“I have been adamant about including stringent safeguards in the new contract,” he told The Arab American News. “The new contract includes strict stipulations to protect the city and our residents, if the company fails to meet the terms of the agreement. In addition, to facilitate effective communications with our city, Priority Waste will provide the administration with the direct contact of their management team. We already have had experience with that team during the flooding. I reached out to Priority Waste to assist with the pick-up of flood debris. Although Priority Waste’s role was limited in scope at the time, they were very reliable and their management team was very personable.”
Bazzi said that he wants residents to continue to call if services are not being performed timely.
“There is a significant cost save and Priority Waste provides stellar customer service and proved to be helpful and professional during the flooding,” he said. “In the meantime, if residents’ trash is not being picked up on time by GFL, we ask residents to call DPW at 313-791-6000 to report this. GFL is still currently obligated to provide services for our residents. I will continue to work diligently through this process as we onboard Priority Waste to provide the quality service that our residents deserve.”