Rutherford Outvoted, Burrtec Contract Renewed for Additional Year

San Bernardino County District Supervisors have voted in favor of extending the Burrtec Waste Industries contract for an additional year despite Supervisor Janice Rutherford’s vote to end the contract early.

The vote occurred at 10 a.m. Tuesday during a San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting and resulted in a 3 to 2 vote in favor of keeping Burrtec contract for one more year to address several points of concern. 

“I need to start seeing some actual ideas on the issue of non-resident mountain pick up,” Rutherford said. “ … We don’t have a solution for this yet. I am going to be uncomfortable doing anything until someone brings me some ideas.” 

“I understand that it’s a small issue compared to these huge legislative issues we are dealing with, but for my constituents, it’s a huge quality of life issue that is not getting addressed,” Rutherford added. 

Supervisors Robert A. Lovingwood, Dawn Rowe and Josie Gonzales voted in favor of extending the contract for an additional year, while Supervisors Rutherford and Curt Hagman voted against.

Supervisor Janice Rutherford had asked the waste department to work with Burrtec to provide relief for people who do not use their cabins on a regular basis, said Scott Vanhorne, spokesman for Rutherford’s office. 

Vanhorne said there were no moves made toward getting a resolution for that issue but added that there were multiple reasons for reconsidering the automatically renewing contract. 

“Our main goal is to get the best deal for our residents,” Vanhorne said. “You can always get a better deal if you go back out.”

Vanhorne added that the county will need to begin a recycling collection of food waste and has been negotiating with haulers to get that collection established. 

Burrtec has currently been contracted by the County of San Bernardino for seven years and has an “evergreen clause” written into their contract. This means when the contract is ended by either Burrtec or the County of San Bernardino, Burrtec has eight years to wind down their operations in the area. 

Their renewal date for this year is July 1, but a notice must be given to Burrtec 60 days before that date, according to a report from Kevin Blakeslee, director of the Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management.

Blakeslee recommended in the report that the county terminate 20 agreements currently in place in order to seek new proposals from other franchise haulers.

The current franchise agreements were adopted in the county between 1998 and 2004, according to the report from Blakeslee. 

“This will allow the County to issue a Request for Proposals for franchise haulers,” Blakeslee said. “When the expiration date for the current agreements approaches, in order to obtain the best rates and services for the County and its residents.”

Blakeslee gave the following points that could have been addressed if new proposals and agreements were to be sought out:

• Deletion of the automatic renewal provision because it is contrary to current county

policy, may not provide the most competitive rates to customers and makes it difficult to

obtain competitive rates for new state mandated services;

• Implement new state solid waste mandates for recycling including A.B. 341, A.B. 1826

and S.B. 138;

• Revise liquidated damages to allow the county to more effectively address service

deficiencies;

• Consider service modifications for unique issues in jurisdictions, such as vacation

homes in the mountain areas;

• Evaluate the proper number of franchise areas in the county to reduce staff monitoring

expenses;

• Provide additional services such as assistance with illegal dumping.

The Board of Supervisors asked for regular reports on the developments from Burrtec regarding these issues.

Christian Shepherd can be reached at cshepherd@mountain-news.com.