Friday 27th May 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: original article – Xàbia AL DÍA
The latest plenary session of the local council has approved start of the tender process for the contract for a transfer service for green garden waste that has been deposited in the area of Les Catarroges after the forced closure of Ramblars, a tender regarded as “urgent which must be accelerated for reasons of public interest to avoid possible fires”.
The proposed contract, approved thanks to votes in favour from PSPV-PSOE and Ciudadanos por Jávea (CpJ) whilst the councillors representing the other oppositions parties abstained, has an annual budget of 1,119,418 euros including IVA for a two year contract which has the option to be extended. A separate expense of 600,000 euros was also approved for the immediate adaption of the plot for the remainder of the year.
Kika Mata, the councillor responsible for Services, explained that this option was the only this that the government was allowing the local council to pursue. In order for the deposited green waste to be crushed and transformed, a processing plant would need to be built and that option was not the intention of the local government in the short term. Consequently, the tender conditions specify that prospective bidders must have their own processing plant.
It is not an easy or economic tender for the municipality and all the opposition parties raised their doubts and asked questions in this regard. Rosa Cardona, spokesperson for the Populares de Xàbia, raised concerns that the penalties set on the tender conditions for breach of contract, ranging from 750 to 3,000 euros, were “ridiculously low” and would not hurt the winning bidder, should they commit an infraction. She said that, for such an important contract, they “fall short”. Councillor Mata responded that, whilst she agreed that fines of 4,000 or 6,000 euros would have been preferable, the law didn’t allow them to impose greater fines, although local council would now be able to terminate the contract for two serious offences.
Rosa Cardona also questioned if the 40 euros per tonne specified in the tender was enough so that it would not become void and whether any study had been done in this regard. Mata responded that it was one of the highest prices and comparable to that being charged in the Marina Alta region. Ximo Segarra, the councillor responsible for the Treasury, added that a price review is included in the tender.
Juan Cardona (Compromís) added his own concerns that the local government was basing its tender process on lower price rather than the quality of service, a practice that has caused problem for the town hall in some of the most important recents awards. He added that he was concerned, since the contract has been developing since 2017-2018, its model would not have been re-assessed after so many comings and goings. He added that the problem with the Ramblers site was not only that it provided a bad service but also that the waste collection and transfer model was not adequate. Whilst he wasn’t necessarily against it, the fact that there has been no change in the model means that it shouldn’t be approved either. “With the time that has passed, we should have already changed from the transfer to the transformation model and have been the brave ones to take the step as we did with the desalination plant, at the time, which has been shown to be an infrastructure for the future that has benefited us.”
Enrique Escrivà (C’s Xabia) said that he regretted that the local government had opted for the “ready to vote” option instead of involving the opposition parties in the development of the contract and provided a prior explanation. “But once you open the specifications, you realize that there is not much to explain because, simply, they are looking for a drop in prices.” He added that the contract “was so urgent that it forgot to evaluate the environmental sustainability of the service” (as the previous tenders that were left included, one deserted and the other withdrawn). Councillor Kika Mata once again stressed that the conditions were not set by the government team but by the legal and technical cabinet: “We have to adapt to the measures that mark us.”
Escrivà also expressed his surprise that the contract didn’t include any section of fire prevention, especially after what happened in Ramblers. “We changed from Ramblars to Catarroges, but we take the same problems, for not consulting, not letting people participate and putting the ‘ready to vote’ in front of us.”
Mata pointed out that this specification “is a quick solution” and that the issues raised by Escrivá regarding the safety and suitability of the plot are contemplated in the loan of an additional 600,000 euros.