Town leaders of Chesapeake Beach have decided to make a change in their trash and recycling vendor. The action has prompted the current vendor, which lost out to a rival business, to take legal action.
During the town council’s March meeting—conducted by conference call Thursday night due to the coronavirus, the panel voted unanimously, and without discussion, to award a three-year contract to Evergreen Disposal Services of Waldorf. The contract has a one-year option to renew. The pact calls for Evergreen to pick up the municipality’s trash, recycling, do bulk removal and disposal and cover tipping fees at an annual amount of $543,180. The contract award followed a process that included the town’s advertisement of a request for proposal and, in February, a mandatory pre-bid with representatives from Evergreen, current vendor Southern Maryland Recycling Inc. and two other RFP respondents in attendance.
Town officials recommended Evergreen for the contract.
On March 18, Southern Maryland Recycling filed a suit in Calvert County Circuit Court seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in the matter. The Town of Chesapeake Beach and Evergreen were named as defendants in the suit.
During Thursday’s meeting, Mayor Pat “Irish” Mahoney read into the record a letter submitted by James Graner Jr., president of Southern Maryland Recycling Inc. Graner indicated in his statement that the suit was regrettably filed and seeks to have the court “declare Evergreen Disposal ineligible for award of this contract.”
Graner contended that Evergreen “is a Virginia corporation that does not meet the minimum qualifications because it has not performed these services for a municipality, local or state government in the last five years. This is important because an experienced vendor like Southern Maryland Recycling, with more than 10 years of experience providing these services, understands the full scope of work involved in trash and recycling disposal services for the Town of Chesapeake Beach. An inexperienced vendor will encounter service and disposal issues, particularly where the RFP understated the total quality of tipping tickets and tons of disposal required.”
Grander stated that Evergreen Disposal “did not include all required bid prices in its bid. In addition to violating the RFP’s explicit requirements, this prevented the town from considering all options available, including a five-year base contract term and including a performance bond to protect the town against non-performance. As it stands now, the town is poised to award to a firm [that] may not have the ability to acquire performance bonding.”
Chesapeake Beach is being represented in the suit by Todd Pounds, the new town attorney, whose firm Alexander and Cleaver, was unanimously approved Thursday as the legal services provider for the town. Southern Maryland Recycling Inc. is being represented by Christopher J. Olsen of Rifkin, Weiner and Livingston LLC. Rudolf A. Carrico is representing Evergreen in the suit. None of the attorneys have responded to the Calvert Recorder’s request for comment.
Court records show the court granted a temporary restraining order requested by the plaintiff on Thursday.
“We are aware of Southern Maryland Recycling’s filing in Calvert County Circuit Court to protest the bid award of Evergreen Disposal Services for trash removal and disposal services within the Town of Chesapeake Beach,” said Chesapeake Beach Town Administrator Holly K. Wahl in an email to The Calvert Recorder. “The town has conducted a fair and transparent bidding process, in which Evergreen Disposal Services served as the lowest responsive bidder. In addition to being the lowest responsive bidder, Evergreen provides increased services to the residents of the Town of Chesapeake Beach to include weekly bulk trash collection and expanded bagged yard waste collection year round. Trash services are a vital service for our residents and we look forward to continuing to improve upon those services.”
Coping with virus
During the brief meeting, Mahoney assured those watching the live stream that town officials were focused on maintaining services and utilities — running water and flushing toilets, trash removal and public safety during the crisis.
“Don’t panic, but be smart,” Mahoney said in a statement that has been posted on the town’s website. “We have to take measures that may appear drastic but are vitally necessary. Call a neighbor to check on them, especially the elderly.”
Mahoney urged town residents to access the website’s coronavirus portal. The portal provides links for residents to learn what flushed items could clog sewage pipes, the ongoing Census 2020 count and contact information.
The mayor announced Bayfront Park is closed until further notice. “These measures are being taken to decrease visitors from coming into town and the possibility of large crowds gathering during the upcoming warmer weather,” Mahoney stated.
The town has also cancelled the annual Easter festival that had been scheduled for March 29.
During Thursday’s meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution “to allow temporary procedural modifications for conducting town business while accommodating the health and safety concerns arising from the pandemic.”
During council comments, Councilman L. Charles Fink encouraged residents to “get out and walk” as a means to maintain health. Councilman Larry Jaworski reminded residents, “our drinking water is safe.” During his economic development committee report, Jaworski encouraged citizens to support local businesses. He also reminded business owners that assistance is available on both the state and county levels.