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Tuesday, Oct 15 2013 06:00 AM

Benz didn't submit bid for Golden Hills trash

Just days before the Sept. 30 deadline, Benz Sanitation indicated it had decided not to participate in the Golden Hills Community Services District's request for proposal for its solid waste and collection and diversion program.

In a letter dated Sept. 27, sent to Walnut Creek-based consulting firm, HF&F Consultants, which is managing the district's Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the Tehachapi-based trash hauler stated its reasons for not submitting a proposal.

Paul Benz wrote that he felt the RFP process placed his company in an unfair situation, given it has a franchise contract with the County of Kern to serve the Golden Hill community and rates are set through the county's franchise system -- it's like Benz bidding against itself, he said.

"We feel this gives other bidders an unfair competitive advantage in this process and, based on approval from Golden Hills CSD of the RFP process set forth by HF&F Consultants, may require future legal remedies to address," Benz wrote.

Golden Hills expects the successful bidder to reimburse it for costs of the bid process, estimated to be around $100,000.

In an additional letter also dated Sept. 26, and posted on an anonymously registered website (goldenhillsfacts.com), Benz asked Golden Hills General manager Bill Fisher to postpone the bidding process, allowing clarification from the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission.

Paul Benz Jr. told the Tehachapi News that the company has no ties to the anonymous website but confirmed that the letters posted there had been sent by Benz.

The Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission, the body charged with resolving local governmental jurisdictional issues, was asked by Benz to rescind its March 27 decision, amending Golden Hills' list of active powers to include solid waste services.

Instead, commissioners decided at their Sept. 25 meeting to set a hearing date to allow the public an opportunity to provide input in regards to the ongoing issues surrounding the Golden Hills Community Services district's decision to manage its own curbside trash collection.

"I believe receiving clarification at the next LAFCO hearing as to which powers are actually active prior to accepting proposals is not oly the prudent thing to do, but will also be seen as a good faith gesture to the constituents of Golden Hills," Benz wrote.

LAFCO director Rebbecca Moore said commissioners are expected to set a public hearing at their next meeting on Oct. 23.

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