Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 4:03 pm | Fair 55º


MarBorg Industries Wins Santa Barbara County Trash Contract

Allied Waste Services says the move will force it to lay off a third of its local workers

Allied Waste Services of Santa Barbara has served the South Coast since 1972, but it suffered historic losses Tuesday when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors awarded an eight-year contract to locally owned hauler MarBorg Industries.

Two of the company’s three South Coast trash contracts were lost Tuesday. As a result, Allied officials say they’ll have to lay off nearly a third of its local workforce.

Allied Waste Services now will cover only the portion of Santa Barbara west of State Street, and that contract expires in 2013.

County supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the contract with MarBorg, with 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf absent.

The county is divided into five trash-hauling zones, and supervisors have said that a minimum of two companies must be working countywide. They revised the county’s solid-waste ordinance last year to provide for no fewer than two haulers, a move they said would encourage competition.

The area known as Zone 2 covers the unincorporated eastern Goleta Valley, north of Highway 101. Currently, the eight-year contract costs the county about $16 million. Zone 4 represents a $30 million contract, and Zone 5 costs $35 million. Combined, the service contracts are among the largest the county deals with, Mark Schleich, deputy director of the county Public Works Department, told Noozhawk last month.

The supervisors directed staff in 2009 to look at options for Zones 2, 4 and 5. Contracts in all three zones will expire in June.

Ultimately, the staff put the zones out to bid to Allied Waste Services of Santa Barbara, MarBorg Industries and Waste Management. The companies came back with 11 proposals, but staff said MarBorg scored the highest for Zone 2, and Waste Management for Zones 4 and 5. Rates are expected to decrease by a minimum of 10 percent, although the actual rates will be determined later this spring.

While Allied brought in the lowest bid in Zone 2, county staff rated MarBorg higher in quality of service and diversion. The bids brought in a lot of perks to the consumer, too, according to Leslie Wells, program leader of the county’s Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division.

“We’re seeing a lot of enhancements on the service side,” Wells said.

Among the perks were picking up bulky items curbside twice a year instead of once.

Other jurisdictions will be watching the county’s move Tuesday. The Santa Barbara City Council voted last week to postpone its decision to hire a trash consultant until after the county supervisors voted on their process.

The city is expected to hold a competitive bidding process for the $8 million-per-year contract, said Stephen MacIntosh, general manager of Allied Services and the city’s former environmental services director.

MacIntosh held a news conference Tuesday morning and said the decisions by the city of Goleta and the county to pass on Allied’s services will make services more costly for ratepayers. He stressed the same points when he addressed county supervisors later in the day.

About 30 speakers went forward Tuesday, evenly split between MarBorg and Allied. Even the room was divided, with MarBorg president Mario Borgatello and supporters and family on one side, and MacIntosh and Allied Waste employees on the other.

Supporters of Allied listed benefits such as increased competition, and MarBorg supporters encouraged the board to give the contract to a locally owned company. MacIntosh’s supporters scoffed when supervisors chose not to give him more time at the microphone. He originally asked for nine minutes to speak, but the board said he would have to make the case in two.

“Businesses do not survive that long if they don’t do their jobs well,” he told supervisors.

He lauded the county for its process while taking a stab at nearby Goleta, which decided not to put the contract out to multiple bidders. By awarding the contract to MarBorg, “you will be creating a monopoly,” he cautioned supervisors.

Borgatello said he and his team would fulfill the duties outlined in the county’s agreement.

“Solid waste contracts need to be viewed with the broadest perspective possible,” he said. “We’ve stepped up to the plate.”

The item was approved with little discussion among the supervisors.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said he hoped MarBorg would consider hiring any qualified employees from Allied who might be displaced.

After the meeting, MacIntosh called the decision “extremely disappointing. We know we had a superior proposal.” He said not only was Allied’s proposal the least expensive option, but it would have created more diversion for the county, prolonging the life of the Tajiguas Landfill west of Goleta.

MacIntosh said the loss of the Zone 2 contract would amount to about 20 employee layoffs, a third of Allied’s local workforce. He also expressed chagrin that supervisors had not waited until the next week to take Wolf’s vote, as she had requested.

Borgatello said he thought the process had been very fair. When asked whether he would consider hiring some of Allied’s workers, he said the company would be open to new hires. It will be implementing more automated systems in the routes, at the request of the county, but Borgatello said his company would hire as many employees as possible.

“Our long history of performance is what paid off in the end,” he told Noozhawk.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli contributed to this report. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >