City to expand recycling services

Brownsville City Commissioner Nurith Galonsky lifts a tire to hand off to city employee Roberto Rangel for recycling Saturday morning during the city of Brownsville's Tire Collection Day event at the dropoff site in Tony Gonzalez Park.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

The Brownsville City Commission approved an item on Tuesday that includes bringing recycling drop off locations to the city’s four districts.

The commission approved granting a franchise license for five years to Republic Services Inc. for residential waste management services as well as the four recycling drop off locations.

“The city has determined that the collection, processing, management and disposition of residential solid waste is best and most efficiently carried out by providing an exclusive license and franchise to a private entity with demonstrated expertise in carrying out this function under agreed upon terms and conditions,” the ordinance reads.

The license will provide recycling services for the City a total of four times a month, once a week on Saturdays, servicing collection stations at Gonzales Park (District 1), Cabler Park (District 2), Veterans Park (District 3) and Montebella Park (District 4).

Materials that can be collected at these locations include:

>> Newspapers and cardboard

>> Plastics #1 and #2 only

>> Aluminum and tin cans

>> And other recyclables managed by Republic Services Inc.

In a memo sent to the mayor and city commission, Finance Director Lupe Granado and Jose Lopez, assistant Chief Procurement and Contract officer, said the City of Brownsville established a new General Franchise Ordinance with the support of City Commission that was approved on June 2, 2020.

The memo states the franchise application was released shortly after to the incumbent provider and received their request on June 15. Due to the response needs related to COVID-19, the city experienced delays in the process but continued exploring services with the applicant.

“City Commission, City staff and the applicant explored the details and potential services to be provided within the community between June and September,” the memo reads

“Financial Services staff recommends approval of the Franchise License to Republic Services Inc. with the base level of services remaining the same, while recycling will be expanded from two to four sites with one site located in each Electoral District.”

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said in a post on his social media that the months-long feasibility process also included a plan for placing recycling bins at everyone’s home but it would have assessed a mandatory fee of almost $6 extra per home.

“While some may not been okay with this, it wasn’t an optional fee and would have been cost prohibitive to many households,” he wrote. “I’m excited to get this off the ground soon.”

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com