The Daily Hustle: 6/18/10

More MRF madness next meeting

The Balcones recycling plant stacks their paper
The Balcones recycling plant stacks their paper (Photo courtesy

City Council assembles next Thursday for its last meeting before the Members enter their month-long hiatus. (Yes, we're stoked.) Bearing that in mind, it's no surprise the draft agenda, to be finalized later today, is a 150-item behemoth – and no issue looks more confounding than those relating to Austin's proposed MRF.

The Materials Recycling Facility saga has been a strange one, with council most recently voting to scrap the proposals process that garnered three frontrunners, chiefly staff-recommended Allied Waste, out of dissatisfaction. But it wasn't a unanimous vote, and the nays on the 5-2 vote (Bill Spelman, Sheryl Cole) have a resolution, Item 75, directing the City Manager to negotiate a contract for single stream MRF services with Balcones Resources, and return to Council for execution of contract. At the last council conversation, Balcones complained about irregularities in the staff scoring process that depicted Balcones' proposal as more expensive than it was. And with Spelman voting no on the reboot after being informed a new proposal process wouldn't create significantly different results, he seems eager to move forward.

Then there's Item 85, from Mike Martinez, Laura Morrison, Randi Shade (a strange constituency if the Hustle's ever seen one), directing the manager to “negotiate with both Texas Disposal Systems and Balcones Resources, Inc for a short-term and long-term contract for a Material Recovery Facility. The presence of TDS is a surprising non-surprise. TDS had clamored to get into the bidding after being shut out; whether the firms that went through the bidding process will allow council to tap TDS without a fight is a good question.

Then there's the remarks Shade made concerning the MRF to In Fact Daily this week: should neither company be able to bring on a robust short-term plan, council may be forced to extend the city's current contract with Greenstar yet again. While we respect council's wishes to get it right, at what point does chasing an ideal become chasing a mirage? Guess we'll find out Thursday.

The city has named three finalists for Austin Energy general manager, all hailing from the best coast: Ronald Davis, Larry Weis, and David Wright. Take it away, press release:

Ronald Davis, General Manager, Burbank, Calif., Water and Power. Davis has 30 years of experience in the electric industry and has led Burbank Water and Power for the last 12 years. Burbank Water and Power is a municipal utility in urban Southern California with a 2009 budget of $410 million and a peak electrical load of 308 MW. BWP is recognized as one of the nation's most reliable electrical providers and adopted a 33 percent renewable energy portfolio standard in 2007.

Larry Weis, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, Turlock, Calif., Irrigation District. TID provides both water and electricity to a fast-growing area in the Central Valley of California. The utility is one of the 30 largest public power utilities in the United States, serving more than 600,000 residents. Weis has 29 years of experience in the electric industry, including 20 years as a General Manager. TID is currently supplying 28 percent of its annual energy requirements from renewable resources.

David Wright, General Manager, City of Riverside, Calif., Public Utilities. Wright has 22 years of experience working for public utilities. Riverside Public Utilities serves more than 300,000 residents with an annual budget of more than $500 million. A Certified Public Accountant, Wright has a strong financial background and served as the Finance Director for San Diego County Water Authority and the City Controller for Riverside before taking on the role of Riverside's Public Utility Chief Financial Officer in 1993. He took on the role of Deputy Director in 1998 and has been the General Manager of Riverside's Public Utility since 2005.

A meet and greet is scheduled with the candidates June 30 at the Austin Energy building, 721 Barton Springs, 6pm.

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: The Live From the Plaza music series carries on at City Hall, 310 W. Second, noon.

And of course, a public forum on the November transportation bond is happening today in council chambers, from 4-8pm.

HEY! Sign up for the Hustle's weekly e-mail newsletter, recapping news, politics and more every Friday. Don't worry, we'll never spam or sell your address. Visit here, enter your info, and click 'City Hall Hustle.'

Got something you wanna show the Hustle? Email it to wells [at], tweet it @CityHallHustle, drop by the Hustle's Facebook or Tumblr page, or leave a comment in the section below.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More City Council
Inching Toward Higher Heights to Get More Housing
Inching Toward Higher Heights to Get More Housing
Advocates for low-income tenants urge a go-slow approach

Maggie Q. Thompson, June 13, 2022

Council Recap: A Balanced Budget, Without Much Drama
Council Recap: A Balanced Budget, Without Much Drama
But many hours of deliberation over two days on the dais

Austin Sanders, Aug. 13, 2021

More MRF
The Totally Awesome AusChron Newscast Dims the Lights
The Totally Awesome AusChron Newscast Dims the Lights
Fleet Services, MRF, light pollution - that's just how we roll

Jordan Smith, July 1, 2010

The Daily Hustle: 6/24/10
The Daily Hustle: 6/24/10
Liveblogging City Council

Wells Dunbar, June 24, 2010

More by Wells Dunbar
Top 10 City Council Stories
Top 10 City Council Stories
Dais and months

Jan. 6, 2012

City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
To the beating hearts of a great city

Dec. 30, 2011


The Daily Hustle, City Council, Recycling, Texas Disposal Systems, Balciones Resources, MRF

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle