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Tentative deal reached to end Flint trash pick-up dispute

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders have reached a tentative deal to end their trash dispute.

Two companies have been picking up Flint garbage for weeks, as the mayor and city council disagreed on which company should have the multi-million-dollar contract.

But last week, the mayor’s choice, Rizzo Environmental Services, was linked to a federal corruption investigation in southeast Michigan. While not named in the indictment handed down against a Clinton Township trustee, newspaper reports claim an official with Rizzo bribed the township official to get its garbage contract.

Rizzo Environmental Services has said it is cooperating with federal officials.

Last week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver insisted no one connected to Rizzo had offered her a bribe. The lone Flint city councilman who supported Rizzo’s bid also denied being offered a bribe.

But Flint City Council president Kerry Nelson says the recent reports linking Rizzo to the federal corruption investigation broke the stalemate between the council and the mayor.

“Certainly we don’t want … that kind of cloud hanging over us in this city,” Nelson said today after the tentative deal was announced.

There are still specifics to be worked out. 

But Nelson says Republic Services would be offered a two-year, five-month contract to empty Flint’s trash cans. He says the city would pay Republic in the range of $10 million. 

The deal will need the approval of the Flint city council, mayor and the city’s state oversight board, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board. 

Nelson hopes a new contract with Republic Services will be in place next week.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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