A private trash collector says the City of El Campo is taking away his business by extending exclusive rights for roll-off services to its contracted trash service.

Residents have also expressed concern about their trash service this week as City Council prepares to finalize the contract with Texas Disposal Systems on Monday.

“I wish we could have been there, but we were dealing with a COVID outbreak, and we didn’t want to endanger anyone,” Trust Waste Solutions owner Chris Hawes said. “I wanted them to see the people who were actually going to be affected by this decision.”

The council was deadlocked 3-3 Monday on a vote that would have allowed TWS to operate in the city limit, causing the agenda item to fail.

“With this exclusivity, residents will save money and have a company they can count on,” Barbee said. “The city has a contract with TDS because we felt we should go with a company that can provide all of the services we need.”

During the meeting Barbee read a statement provided by Hawes who wanted the council to remove the exclusivity provision and allow an open competition.

Hawes has owned TWS for four years and currently provides services from Ganado to Needville and from Boca Chica to Columbus.

Previously, TWS provided container roll-off services within the El Campo city limits.

“This isn’t just about my company, it’s about all of us,” Hawes said. “We pay taxes here, we buy local, and use local services. We have given so much to this city just so they can turn around and take this away from us because of something they cant figure out.”

The main point of contention between council members Monday was the ability to regulate roll-offs from private businesses.

“If we removed exclusivity, we would have needed to have some checks and balances to ensure we are charging and collecting the right amount of franchise fees,” Assistant City Manager Rene Garcia said. “Had the non-exclusivity remained, we would have gone in and changed the entire system.” 

El Campo has the ability to fine TDS if they feel like the services they are providing don’t meet the standard agreed to in the contract.

“We can hold TDS accountable, and if they are skirting the rules, they have agreed to let us fine them,” Barbee said. “This is the biggest reason why we went with TDS. After all the issues we have had with Waste Solutions, this was necessary to have better service.”

Others have expressed concern with changes to the way trash is collected.

“Commercial businesses will only have one pick up a week. Well, I have two commercial businesses that I pay for, so I’m already paying double, El Campo business owner Sheldon Holub said. “So let’s double that. Less service, and I pay more money.”

The service to commercial clients is not changing. The contract with Waste Connections included the same provision of once-weekly collection for commercial residents but they still picked up twice.

The other major issue for residents is the need to bundle their brush if they want TDS to pick it up.

“I guess the brush pick-up will be a joke,” El Campo resident Sheryl Thonsgaard. “Has anyone driven around El Campo lately and seen the brush piles. No one is going to bundle their limbs.”

The contract with TDS has the same rule for brush pick up as Waste Connections.

“Waste Connections was supposed to make sure people bundled their brush, but they weren’t enforcing their own rule when they collected trash.”

The Contract with TDS will start on Oct. 1 in the City of El Campo after more than 10 years with Waste Connections. 

“Have patience with us, and we will do everything we can to address all of your concerns,” Garcia said. “Transitions of this magnitude are going to have complications. We are addressing them as quickly as we can, but residents can call us at any time with their concerns.”

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