Solid waste contract awarded to Priority Waste
By Dana Casadei
After 16 years with Green for Life (GFL) Services as Bloomfield Township's trash and recycling provider, Bloomfield Township trustees voted 5-2 at their meeting on Monday, April 10, to make a change and awarded Priority Waste, Inc. the township’s new solid waste program contract.
The contract term will end June 30, 2031.
There was nearly two hours of discussion among board members after Bloomfield Township Director of Public Works Noah Mehalski stated that Green for Life Services – which currently has the contract and has for the last 16 years – had done an excellent job for the township, his ultimate recommendation was for the move to Priority Waste.
Not only was Priority Waste the lowest bidder out of the two companies – coming in at $34 million – but has stated they will better address keys issues in regards to response times that Bloomfield Township residents, including those on the board, have had in the past with GFL.
Customer service was a huge part of the vetting process performed by the solid waste contract evaluation committee, which was made up of township staff and three board of trustees representatives, including trustee Stephanie Fakih, supervisor Dani Walsh and treasurer Brian Kepes. Over several weeks, the committee met with both companies, conducted interviews and performed site visits.
Priority Waste uses logistics driver coordinator, the first of its kind in the industry, which the company said will provide a high level of customer service to residents, and monitor each truck in real time with cameras that are mounted on it and are in constant communication with each driver. This way, when a resident calls, a logistics driver coordinator will connect to the driver of that route to solve issues in a more timely fashion than GFL. They said the general response time is immediate.
While Priority Waste’s proposal sounded strong, some board members worried that this kind of change could come with too many hiccups, and that there would be too many risks for the 16,149 residential units that they’ll have to do pick-up for, questioning the fact that they haven’t been around as long as GFL.
Trustee Neal Barnett didn’t see a reason for such a change, stating that GFL does a great job already, and the bells and whistles that Priority Waste offer were unnecessary. He did acknowledge that if they had gone with GFL, the customer service needed to be stronger.
Others on the board were excited for the change, especially with a company like Priority Waste, which consider itself a tech company in the waste industry, and have employees who live in Bloomfield Township.
Walsh said expectations are high in the township and said that ultimately, GFL simply isn’t evolving as quick as its competitors.
The township had originally planned to extend GFL’s current contract, but after extensive negotiations the township ultimately decided to solicit bids for the solid waste contract. A request for proposals was then released in January 2023 via the Michigan Intergovernmental Trade Network and the township’s website, and was followed by a pre-bid meeting in February.
While four bids came in from that request, only two – Priority Waste and GFL – were further evaluated, due to the other two companies having too high of a cost or did not have enough experience with any current municipal contracts.
Trustees voted 5-2 to approve the Priority Waste contract, with Barnett and trustee Michael Schostak voting against.