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In one of its very last acts, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) council has upheld a staff decision to extend its garbage contract, untendered, for one more year.

But the union representing municipal outside workers in HRM says the $13.2 million extension by a lameduck council should raise alarm bells with residents.

CUPE National Representative Kim Cail says, “Given that HRM has announced a comprehensive review of its solid waste program, and that the new council takes office in just a week’s time, surely this decision could have waited.”

Cail says her union has been advocating that the municipality go back to square one on its delivery model and take a serious look at bringing the services back in house.

Currently”, says Cail, “garbage and recycling services are provided by four different companies, a hodgepodge system that can’t possibly achieve efficiencies.  There are just too many providers.”

The untendered contract extension, which was recommended by senior staff including the CAO on October 23 and upheld by council yesterday, is worth $7.2 million for WMI, $2.9 million for Miller, $1.3 million for Beazley and $1.2 million for Eastern Shore.  

The deal is to run until the end of March, 2014.