Republic Services' Suspect Extra Fees to School District May Exceed $50,000 Annually

 

Through an Open Records Request, we found that Republic Services may have billed the San Angelo ISD over $50,000 annually in suspect fees.

They are suspect fees because no one at the City of San Angelo or Republic Services will explain how or when the “Environmental Recovery Fee” was authorized or for how long the fee has been imposed on commercial trash collection customers of the City’s monopoly trash collections vendor, Republic Services.

On several commercial invoices San Angelo LIVE! has seen, the suspect “Environmental Recovery Fee” totals around 32-33% of the invoice.

Through an Open Records Request, San Angelo LIVE! obtained the Republic invoices to the San Angelo Independent School District for March 2014. The District, considered a commercial trash collection customer by Republic, was charged over $4,300 per month, or approximately 33% extra, in the suspect fees.

The District is a large customer with 42 trash pickup locations.

We have requested all of the District’s Republic Services (or previous Republic company entities for trash collection) invoices dated as far back as 2010. The request, District officials said, will take some time to gather the information from the District’s archives.

Assuming that the District pays the suspect charges monthly, and we assume that they are, the Republic surcharges can pay for more than one teacher’s salary. The suspect charges to the District, labeled “Total Fuel/Environmental Recovery Fee” if paid annually total $51,705.

An entry-level teacher is paid approximately $32,000 per year salary according to District officials. If the charges are universal for an entire 12 months, the suspect fees are equal to 1.62 new teachers.

Republic competitor, Texas Disposal Systems CEO Bob Gregory pointed out that commercial trash bills include the fee, but not residential fees. Republic directly bills the commercial trash collection fees to the customer; residential fees are attached to City water bills.

TDS spokesman Ryan Beard said that when the City awards an exclusivity contract, it is the City’s duty to protect the citizens and businesses under its jurisdiction by monitoring that the terms and conditions of the contract are enforced.

Gregory nor his team could find authorization from Council for Republic to tack on an “Environmental Recovery Fee,” The fee is equal to approximately 32-33% of the total trash collection charges on the invoices that we have seen.

Republic does not answer our calls or emails. The city attorney was not available for comment Monday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. City of San Angelo Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson said that the City is researching the Environmental Recovery Fees.

City officials apparently became aware of the suspect fees when they opened the TDS bid at the end of March. TDS’ Bob Gregory enumerated the suspect commercial surcharges in an open letter then.

The City chose Republic as the winner of the trash collection and landfill management RFP process at the Apr. 1 City Council meeting, and announced that the City will begin negotiations on a new contract with Republic immediately.

Republic Services spokesmen told the San Angelo Standard-Times that they would not comment on the Environmental Recovery Fee because they are in secret contract negotiations with the city. Every Council member we have asked said that they would defer comment until negotiations with Republic are complete.

TDS’ Gregory asks how can the RFP process be fair if the incumbent competitor vendor is allowed to directly bill the City’s commercial customers 32% extra without the City knowing about it?

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Sounds like pour city negotiations committee better be getting some pretty hefty credits back from Republic. Surly city negotiators will not mistaken that for Speacial Interests (wink wink nudge nudge).
How much does the city and County pay Republic for "Total Fuel/Environmental Recovery Fee”for the collection of its Trash?It should be a matter of Public Knowledge.And yet another question.Isn't Republic Services being paid for Environmental Recovery in the fees assessed by them for the city contract?
Isnt the guys in charge of TDS here the same guys that were in charge at republic when these so called extra fees occurred but has since left republic?
Bill Richardson, Wed, 04/16/2014 - 07:54
I doubt if many San Angelo residents had complaints against Republic Services prior to San Angelo City Council's questionable handling of the bidding process. During the past years corporate Republic Services paid little attention to the local operation. Local trash trucks are run down and Republic Services upper management was not willing to give the local operation an extra truck to use if one of the on duty trucks broke down. San Angelo customers have had to accept delayed or no pick on trash day if one of their beat up old trucks used on a regular bases throughout most of San Angelo broke down. We did not complain because we knew the local people were doing the best they could with what they had. Republic Services corporate offices had no interest in upgrading local operations. They had not faced competition for 30 years. If San Angelo City Council had handled the RFP in a professional and fair manner Republic Services' questionable billing practices you and other's are bringing to light would not be known to San Angelo's tax payers. I am not at happy to learn that corporate Republic Services is siphoning off over [50 thousand ]dollars of tax payer funds intended for the education of our children and their corporate representatives have the blessing of Mayor Dwain Morrison. I supported Mr. Morrison in his bid to become San Angelo's Mayor. Reflecting back on Mr. Morrison's campaign promises and now witnessing his actions since being elected I am starting to believe Mr. Dwain Morrison invoked the lords name, to lie to us. [revised to make Mr. Hyde happy]

Who took it over?

The total charges to the school district per year are extrapolated to be $50k per year, according to my article, on the caveat that it is likely that the billings are identical monthly over a 12 month span, not proven. We did not assume the Environmental Recovery Fee was collected for 10 years past. Although some businesses have tracked the fee on their invoices back five years.

Our outstanding Open Records Request to the SAISD is for all the invoices to Mar. 2010, approximately four years. Since the invoices are archived, it will take some time to obtain them.

Also, please understand that the author is not assuming the fees are illegal, only that they are suspect. Also, nowhere in here did I note a $500k figure because I only saw one month's worth of invoices (Mar. 2014). I cannot report that the ERF charges reach back 10 years to equal $500k.

Thanks for the compliment. I think. 

(the brain comment referred to that you're usually not this complimentary).

All I can say is I work in the mental recovery unit at a very respectful institution. And that's all im gona say about that(:
Anyone Concerned, Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:10
This article is about the commercial fees for the San Angelo ISD. According to the San Angelo ISD website, under the tab School Quick Facts, the public can find very useful information to justify the additional fees. The statement," new and updated facilities throughout the district as a result of the 2008 bond election". Now this would explain the environmental fees for the school district. New construction of schools and updating others, with removal of debris from each and every site. Notice the schools statement says since 2008. So to all of you from TDS and the writer of this article...this information is public and should have been researched before throwing out more allegations that you can not support!!!! Prove to the public of San Angelo that you know what you are talking about first. Commercial accounts should also take into consideration your disposable weight of your trash as well. Housing, hotel, and business construction considered commercial accounts should realize their weight allowance of debris per container, and if you exceed this limit then what? You think you should not have to pay for the additional weight? This is also public information, and can be found online. Also, where do you think TDS is now dumping the trash from their so called new Construction accounts? Yep, that's right, here in San Angelo at OUR landfill. Why don't they take their trash to Austin where they are from?
I saw that my trash collection costs were going up and I thought there must be someone else in San Angelo that provides dumpsters. Well, I was wrong and although there are 3 listings in the phone book, they are all the same company. When a firm has a monopoly, the city should be performing due diligence, since we don't have a choice.
Anyone Concerned, Wed, 04/16/2014 - 10:22
Previous comment.....are you within the city limit? Or outside? If you have lived in San Angelo for a while, you know that Republic Services has owned the other companies for years. Why complain now? Is your dumpster for residential or commercial? Let's see if you answer.
It's commercial and within the city limits. As I said, I saw the prices going up and I started to look for another provider. I didn't know that there is only one provider until I called. Yes I am complaining now, I don't think our city managed the contract very well.

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