A recommendation to stay with the City of Sun Prairie’s current recycling/refuse company is facing pushback from a lower-cost contractor that calls the city’s evaluation process unfair.
The Sun Prairie City Council will vote on the contracts on April 20 after city staff and the public works committee backed Madison-based Pellitteri. The company, which received a higher ranking and positive feedback from residents, had a bid of $9.25 per unit (household).
Milton-based Badgerland Disposal bid came in $7.95 per unit, which would save city households $15.60 annually on refuse/recycling services and would save the city more than $800,000 over five years.
City staff recommended Pellitteri after the company scored 82 out of 100, higher than Badgerland’s 69 score. Both companies were scored in a blind review first with financials redacted from the contract and then again with costs put back in.
The city has an estimated 10,500 units that receive trash/recycling services. Both bids are lower than the current $10.10 per unit.
Public Works Committee members reviewed the two multi-million bids at its April 12 virtual public works meeting weighing residents’ satisfaction with the lower-cost newcomer.
Alders and Sun Prairie Public Works Committee members Steve Stocker, Mary Polenske and Terry McIlroy said they all received positive residents’ feedback on Pellitteri.
“Sometimes you just have to look at who you have worked with over the years, and if it has worked for you and reward good behavior. Sometimes you just have to pay the cost based on what your experience has been,” McIlroy said at the April 12 virtual meeting.
Badgerland Disposal Director of Business Development Kris Roesken said the company received an unfair score in the relevant experience with similar-sized communities, ranking 18 to Pellitteri’s 30 score. Roesken said Badgerland Disposal contracts with nine cities in Illinois larger than Sun Prairie, including the City of Chicago, and that wasn’t counted in the scoring, essentially giving the company a failing grade.
Roesken also said that city staff didn’t check references until after the contract recommendation was made.
Public Works Operations Manager Ben John said he contacted the Town of Westport, which had made a switch to Badgerland Disposal before making the recommendation, although it was not on the company’s reference list.
John said he checked references for both Badgerland Disposal and Pellitteri after the staff’s recommendation and received positive feedback on both companies. Pellitteri also ranked higher on the scoring, John said, with a higher quality proposal that included a renewable natural gas fleet and recyclable usage rates.
“In my time here,” John said, “our experience with Pellitteri has been a positive one.”
Roesken, who called the RFP process rushed, also said that he would have liked to have contact with city staff to “tell the company’s story and erase any doubt about its capability” and going with a new contractor.
“Pellitteri is a fine company and so are we,” Roesken said at the April 12 meeting. “And when you go out to RFP I would encourage you to allow the time it takes to fully vet your providers.”
John said the RFP went out in February with responses due back by March 22. The Public Works Committee postponed action on the contract until its April 12 meeting. The current contract ends May 1.
Stocker, who passed on the contract vote, said he called Badgerland Disposal references after Roesken reached out to him and they were all “glowing” reviews. He also confirmed the company would offer the same “courtesy” services that Pellitteri gave residents.
Danielle Pellitteri spoke at Tuesday’s meeting about the positive comments it has received from Sun Prairie customers on the company’s service.
“We hope to continue to serve the City of Sun Prairie and the residents and do an excellent job,” Pellitteri said.
The Public Works Committee also recommended that the city stay with biweekly recycling service.
The council will vote on the trash/recycling contract at its April 20 meeting.
Editor's note-article was corrected to show a cost savings per household of $15.60 with the lower price bidder.