As chairperson of the Sanitation Committee, Village of Bridgeport, I couldn't let Mr. Brubach's comments/letter to the editor go unchallenged. I believe the citizens of Bridgeport should not be misled.
Mayor Callarik made the garbage packer a part of our council agenda 6-7 months ago. At the meeting, Council was told that the packer had been breaking down and it had been necessary to borrow Martins Ferry's packer or use the Street Dept. trucks to pick up garbage; the truck has also been stopped by the Ohio State Patrol on numerous occasions for different violations. The village has been pumping money into repairs and has spent over $60,000 over the last 5+ years. The mayor, at that time, thought we should purchase a new packer and even requested a special meeting, inviting a representative from Hill International to discuss their product. Since we were just starting the process, we were interested in what Hill had to offer; however, it was the mayor's intent that we bypass putting this major purchase out to bid and purchase an International vehicle. The purpose for competitive bidding is to get the best quality product for your money.
Thus, you should never just buy the first thing that comes along.
Because council chose to put the purchase of a garbage packer out to bid, and not just simply buy what the mayor wanted, he has been putting up road block after road block in an attempt to stall council from making this purchase because he simply didn't get his way. The mayor, through another member of the Sanitation Committee, Dick Riley, then suggested that we look into contracting out garbage pickup. The Sanitation Committee met Feb. 6 to discuss this and Mr. Riley made a presentation. At the conclusion of his presentation, he stated that the village couldn't go with this idea as it would cause a loss of revenue in the general fund, from what we normally accrue. We met again Feb. 15, per Mr. Riley's request to discuss another suggestion of contracting out to Republic Services, a refuse company, individual residents business and have the village keep the dumpster business. However, this would mean we would have to refurbish our present packer and sink more money into it to keep it running. The second idea would also result in less revenue being generated for the general fund. Apparently, the mayor had several meetings with Republic Services and invited Mr. Riley but no other members of the Sanitation Committee. In fact, I had no knowledge of any attempt to farm out the trash until Mr. Riley informed me. Mr. Riley told me he was asked to meet with the mayor but he wasn't aware anyone else would be present. Representatives from Republic Services were present. When he saw others in the mayor's office, Mr. Riley told the mayor that as he was coming into the building, the President Pro Tempore of Council was at the Fire Hall and he asked the Mayor if we should invite him too. The Mayor replied "no". When questioned about not involving the whole committee, he simply stated "it was not a meeting." The committee did, however, agree to meet with representatives of Republic and a meeting was held Feb. 27 and reviewed their contract.
The committee, as well as other council members individually, have researched and looked at every option brought before us.
Mr. Brubach has implied that council does not spend our taxpayer dollars wisely. Nothing could be further from the truth--doesn't he realize we are taxpayers too.
In the past 2 weeks, the packer broke down twice, being towed once. Should we spend more of your tax dollars on this packer? The mayor called Republic Services to pick up garbage one day when the packer was not available. The village received an invoice in the amount of $907.81 for one day's pickup.
In regard to Mr. Brubach, Mr. Riley and the mayor's assertion that the state purchasing program would have saved the village 10-15K, this fallacy has been proven incorrect time and time again with factual data that these gentlemen obviously don't want to consider.
Regarding the contract with the EPA regarding surface water/sewer problems: As stated by the mayor, the Water Department has accepted responsibility for this issue. Mr. Brubach's question regarding whether council will be able to meet the challenges confronting the Water Dept. or increase rates. Village Council's only role, when pertaining to the Water Dept., is establishing the number of employees they have and their compensation.
Furthermore, council CANNOT raise water rates. The Board of Trustees of Public Affairs is responsible for Water Dept. decisions.
There have been several councilpersons reach out to the administration and other council members in an attempt to set down and discuss some "differences of opinions." The results were: phone calls not returned, email messages not responded to, and when at one time suggested by a third party that the Mayor lead by example and take the first step, he simply ignored the suggestion. Now, who is truly interested in involving all of council to work together? Team Work? I think not! The mayor has made all decisions whether right or wrong until this past year. He was able to get a majority of his friends on council and they just nodded their heads in agreement with everything he wanted until this past year. Those who offered alternative opinions or disagreed with what he wanted to do paid a price. Instead of discussing issues with council, the mayor runs to the media. I respect Mr. Brubach's opinion and his right to say it; however, I feel that it is clear to see where he is getting his information and direction from, along with what type of team work he supports.
There is absolutely no commuication from the mayor's office between the monthly meetings. The mayor's office does not even have a computer so that we could receive correspondence or emails to be kept up-to-date on current or up coming issues. Everything seems to be secret.
I have faith in our residents to know what is truly going on and encourage ALL village residents attend the meetings of the village council held every third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. You will hear facts first hand, where members of council attempt to debate issues based on facts until they are interrupted or gaveled by the chair when he disagrees. It is always better to hear the information first hand, instead of relying on misinformation put in the press or gossiped throughout the village by a select few.
Carole E. Lyle, Chairperson
Bridgeport Village Council