New waste contract saves St. James cash

Published 10:02 pm Friday, August 17, 2012



VACHERIE — At Wednesday’s St. James Parish Council meeting, the council’s Solid Waste Committee offered its recommendations for companies to handle waste removal in the parish and in the towns of Lutcher and Gramercy.

The change will mark the first time in 25 years that the parish has sought bids on the waste services contract, said St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel at Wednesday’s meeting. The committee, led by Councilman Ken Brass and manned by several council members, has spent the past two months compiling information to determine whether lower solid waste collection rates could be obtained.

The current solid waste contract, with Waste Management, expires Oct. 31 and costs the parish more than $2 million annually.

“As a result of the initiative, we are proud to announce an estimated solid waste cost savings of over $250,000 per year,” Brass said, adding that it will ultimately save nearly $1.2 million over the duration of the five-year contract, which serves St. James residents and government agencies.

The committee recommended the council consider Kenner-based Ramelli Waste LLC for the parish’s collection of residential curbside pickup. The committee also recommended Allied Waste for collection and transportation of garbage bins and for landfill use.

Robert Ramelli, owner and president of Ramelli Waste, told the council that his company would become “part of St. James Parish.”

“We would create 20 jobs in the parish,” Ramelli said. “Your residents will run our yard, work as our mechanics and drive our trucks.”

Ramelli said the new jobs will come with an annual payroll of $600,000. He also said the company’s trucks will be housed in the parish.

Warren Guidry of Waste Management was also given an opportunity to address the council on behalf of his company. Guidry spoke of Waste Management’s history in the parish and mentioned the company’s reliable “99.97 percent” positive service record.

The council will consider a resolution to award the solid waste contract to Ramelli Waste and Allied Waste during it’s meeting Sept. 5 in Convent.

In other action, the council voted to set and adjust the 2012 property tax at 34.48 mills. All millage rates will remain the same except for the parish’s road maintenance and road lighting funds, which will decrease. The millage rate in 2012 was 34.5 mills, according to Parish Operations Manager Jody Chenier. The millage rate adjustment is expected to net the parish an additional $149,491, said parish spokesperson Melissa Wilkins.

The council also voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance allowing the parish to borrow about $180,000 for purchase of a fire truck and other equipment for the Union/ Convent Volunteer Fire Department. Union/ Convent Fire Chief Brad Waguespack said the truck will replace a 20-year-old unit valued at $15,000.