Allied Waste Services donated $4,000 to the Santa Barbara Library earlier this week to help the Goleta branch compensate from state budget cuts.
The waste management company made the donation two weeks after the city of Goleta decided to bring in a consultant to settle a contract with MarBorg Industries, a rival company, to become the sole waste services provider in Goleta.
MarBorg Industries and Allied Waste Services are currently conducting curbside waste pick-up in territory that AWS covered alone for decades. AWS’s principle responsibility was the unincorporated area north of Goleta, until the Goleta City Council decided to put the management up for bidding last year. Allied Waste Services CEO Stephen MacIntosh offered financial incentives to the city if AWS won the contract. It was eventually given to MarBorg Industries.
MacIntosh said the company donated to the Goleta branch because of its important educational role within the community.
“I have two main areas of focus when deciding how I want to give back to the community, which are education and environmentalism,” MacIntosh said. “Through its efforts to reuse books and educate youth, the Goleta Library excels in both of those areas.”
Mario Borgatello, president of MarBorg Industries, said the timing of the donation to Goleta Library was not one he or his company would choose.
“We remain consistent in our donations to nonprofits at MarBorg,” Borgatello said. “We do not make changes to our system when contracts come into play.”
MacIntosh said AWS’s donation to the library is not an attempt to sway the city’s decision for the contract.
“This donation has absolutely nothing to do with trying to win the contract from the city. “I am a general manager who is concerned with running this company locally, and it is always good to give back.”
Last year, the city of Goleta decided to move to only one waste management provider in order to increase competition between the two companies. Later that year, the city awarded the contract to MarBorg.
However, Goleta Community Services Director Steve Wagner said negotiations are not complete.
“With a sole source, the result should be better rates for the whole city, not just half, but we still reserve the right to reject the contract,” Wagner said.
A sole-source contract could include a free, unlimited recycling service as well as free battery disposal and free hazardous waste pick-up, according to Wagner.
“We need to make sure recycling is subsidized so there is no cost barrier for participation,” Wagner said.
According to Goleta City Council member Roger Aceves, the city has a record of choosing local companies over international corporations.
“Our city has always had a policy of trying to buy local and use local,” Aceves said.