Supervisors Approve New Trash Hauler For Trona & West Mojave

USA Waste of California will absorb the trash hauling franchise for the town of Trona now held by Benz Sanitation.
Trona lies at the far northwestern extreme of San Bernardino County. Benz Sanitation has the contract for hauling trash in Trona and the three other communities in the sparsely populated area of the county in the Mojave Desert that is proximate to Inyo County, Kern County and a somewhat more distant Los Angeles County. Those communities are Windy Acres, Four Corners, and Red Mountain.
Benz Sanitation, which has a more sizable operation in Kern County than it does in San Bernardino County, for nearly a year has been pursuing the sale of its corporate holdings to USA Waste of California. Delays prevented that sale, but now Benz will cease operating on its own and the county board of supervisors this week assigned the four remote desert franchises to USA Waste of California.
According to Gerry Newcombe, the director of the county’s public works division, “On June 16, 2009 the board approved the amended and restated agreement, effective July 2, 2009, granting an exclusive franchise to Benz Sanitation for the provision of solid waste handling services within County Franchise Area 21 (unincorporated area of Trona, Windy Acres, Four Corners, and Red Mountain). Under the agreement, Benz Sanitation has been providing residential and commercial solid waste handling services for the franchise area. In 2016, Benz first requested the county’s approval of the assignment to USA Waste. However, the closing of that transaction has been delayed. Under the recommended amendment to the agreement, USA Waste assumes the duties and obligations of the agreement and becomes the grantee of the exclusive franchise for County Franchise Area 21. No other changes to the Agreement are made through this amendment. The agreement and County Code Section 46.0303 (b), ‘Assignment and Change in Ownership’ (county code), require that to consider such a request, the county review financial statements of the proposed transferee; and the county receive satisfactory proof that the proposed transferee (i) have at least three years of adequate solid waste experience; (ii) not have received certain violations related to its solid waste management operations; (iii) conducts its solid waste management operations in compliance with laws and in an environmentally safe and conscientious fashion; and (iv) has adequate financial strength and can obtain the required insurance and bonds. The county code and agreement provide that the county shall not unreasonably withhold its consent to the transfer of a franchise agreement or to any change of ownership of a grantee under a franchise agreement. In this case, the proposed transferee, USA Waste, is currently under contract with the county to provide solid waste handling services in another franchise area. USA Waste has been under contract with the county since 1998 and has continuously provided solid waste handling services to county residents and businesses. The county’s solid waste management district has reviewed the records and documents identified in the county code and conclude that USA Waste is qualified, in accordance with the requirements set forth in the county code and Section 11 of the agreement to assume the obligations under the Benz Sanitation Agreement.”
Newcombe continued, “On August 23, 2016 the board first approved the assignment of the agreement from Benz Sanitation to USA Waste. That action became null and void and of no legal effect because the transaction didn’t close within 60 days of the board’s approval. On November 15, 2016 the board again approved the assignment based on Benz Sanitations’ estimate that the transaction would close by December 31, 2016, or within 60-days of approval.
On January 9, 2017, Benz Sanitation advised the county that the closing of the transaction with USA Waste would not occur within 60 days of the November 15, 2016 board approval.
Benz Sanitation advises that the delay in the closing of the transaction has resulted from compliance with the statutory right of first refusal process related to Benz’s Kern County franchises and certain other matters in connection with seeking the consent of Kern County for the assignment to USA Waste. At this time, Benz Sanitation advises that the transaction to assign the Franchise Agreement to USA Waste is now expected to be completed by May 2017. This amendment to the agreement includes the county’s consent to the assignment and assumption of the agreement by USA Waste, and releases Benz Sanitation from its future obligations under the agreement contingent upon the close of the transaction prior to the date that is 60 calendar days from the date of the board’s approval of this amendment.” -Mark Gutglueck

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