Friday, March 10, 2017


By Juan Montoya
As the city sets about to reopen the bidding on the five-year, $50 million commercial and industrial solid waste contract, local business owners say that the current service provider – GMS – is not living up to its contractual obligations.
Downtown business owners say the service is, at best, rag tag and when they complain, the company's answers have been unsatisfactory and its personnel arrogant.

Three firms – Republic, Redfish and GMS – submitted bids that were reviewed by a committee made up of city staff through the purchasing department. They were Odee Leal, Emergency Management Director, Lupe Granado, Finance Director, Bryan Avila, Assistant Auditor, and Martino Trevino, Public Works Superintendent.

After a convoluted process which many have described to the city commissioners as unfair and arbitrary, the city's purchasing department director Robert Luna, Asst. City Manager Robert Lopez and City Manager Charlie Cabler came before the board and presented their recommendation that GMS keep the contract.

They – just barely – rated GMS  a notch above Republic. The edge to the existing contractor was bolstered by something Luna called "value-added" items that he said pushed that company over the top of Republic.

Luna estimated that the "value-added" items that GMS would provide the city would total an estimated $580,900.00 each fiscal year.
For example, he said that GMS will "continue to provide container lid stops to prevent the container lids from staying open. This will help in the control and prevention of windblown litter resulting in a cleaner environment, among other things.
Continue to accept payment on PUB collections, not billings.
Continue to provide brush and bulky waste pick-up on major City streets every Wednesday “Hot-Shot Brush."
Continue to provide Charro Days parade route Port-a-Cans (uh?)
Continue to provide downtown alley clean-up maintenance.

This last one came as a surprise to may downtown businesses. One, in particular, called the service to his downtown bar which is adjacent to a restaurant. GMS is supposed to provide one container to each of the businesses, but the condition of one of the containers (see graphic above) makes one of them unserviceable. The container has holes on the sides and on the bottom, which make it useless, he said. Calls to GMS have been met with indifference and arrogance, said the business owner.

"I called their office and they said that if one of the containers is not any good to share with the restaurant," he said. "So they want us to share one containers while paying for two. They said I could call whoever I want to to complain and that it would do me no good."

The business owner – who also has a business in San Marcos – said the way the city does business leaves much to be desired.
"In San Marcos I am given a choice on what company I want to hire to provide the trash pickup service," he said. "I choose what company I want and I pay way less than I do here. The companies are competing for my business and it's a good deal for the customers."

When Luna, Lopez and Cabler failed to convince a majority of the commissioners that they sign on the dotted line to give GMS another free ride for five years. They asked the city administration to set up a workshop to hash out the problem. Commissioner Cesar de Leon said the workshop had never materialized and that after the trio's recommendation of GMS was rejected, that perhaps a workshop on the issue would be in order now.

To the business owner who has to share the one container while paying for two, it is a matter that requires the city's immediate attention.
"How long can you run a city like this?," he asked. "We are paying a lot of money for poor service and the company doesn't care, or acts like it doesn't have to."


Anonymous said...

That photo is Brownsville in a nutshell, dirty with corruption and rotting from the inside out. A big fuck you to the city commission and mayor who wallow in their own filth with deals like this one.

Anonymous said...

pura crema este GMS been there for the last 30 plus years since 1986 poor service all these years but who cares? city needs new city manger and new administration etc but then who is watching?