Jury reschedules landfill vote; local company explains bid

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A decision of whether to sell the Webster Parish Landfill will have to wait until Friday.
Members of the parish police jury voted Tuesday to table the vote and convene in a special session at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 10 when it is hoped all jurors will be available.
“We have two people out, due to Covid and quarantines, and this is a very important vote,” police jury president Jim Bonsall said. “I believe all the jury should be here to vote.”
Three businesses recently responded to a request for bids to purchase the Webster Parish Landfill, but only two of those companies submitted actual numbers.
The Webster Parish Police Jury requested a minimum bid of $10M.
Madden Contracting Co. of Minden bid $6.2M, plus “to be negotiated overage to ultimately obtain the $10M plus minimum over a yet to be determined negotiated number of years.”
Webster Parish Landfill, LLC, which is a subsidiary of current operator Republic Services, submitted a bid of $20M.
Green Meadow Sustainable Solutions did not submit a formal bid, however, they requested an additional 60 days, saying there was a lack of information available and the current operator Republic Services, has “significant additional information related to the landfill which would have been beneficial to all bidders … “
John Madden, representing Madden Contracting, agreed, admitting his bid of $6.2M “is no small change for a local company.”
Madden’s submitted bid had verbiage acknowledging it did not meet the bid criteria to the letter, but with the documentation he had, the numbers did not add up.
“What we received said the landfill’s gross annual revenue was $5.7M, based on 150,000 tons,” Madden said. “In an addendum (to the management agreement with Republic) that went into effect Jan. 4, 2005, there was a stated fee of $14.65 per ton tipping fee.”
Madden said he called the police jury office because “nowhere in the documentation” was stated the tipping fee was $17.35 a ton, an increase he felt should’ve been in the paperwork.
“If you go to the $14.65 in 2005 and use the admissible 1 percent increase over those years, it’s $17.35, so I felt good about those numbers,” he said, in explaining why Madden’s bid was so much lower than Republic’s. “If you multiply 150,000 tons a year – that was in the paperwork – times $17.35, that number is about $2.5M.”
Like Green Meadow, Madden said there was a lot of information unavailable to his company, even though he said he contacted the police jury office a number of times.
“I hope – and I believe – that we gave everybody the answers that we knew,” Bonsall said.
“I’m not saying you didn’t,” Madden responded. “I’m saying it was poorly done, and – like Green Meadow said they couldn’t even submit a bid. We’re local, and we did submit a bid.
“We didn’t submit as strong a bid as we probably could have because of the lack of information,” he continued, saying there were many more issues than what he just pointed out to jurors.
While the police jury has owned the landfill for more than 25 years, they have not operated it since 1997. Since that time, it has always been operated by a private company, currently Republic Services.
The landfill, located north of Dixie Inn, consists of more than 420 acres and includes the Sarepta substation.
(Photo by Bonnie Culverhouse/John Madden of Madden Contracting explains his company’s bid for purchase of the Webster Parish Landfill.)