For approximately three and a half years one-tenth of Latvian municipalities have been refusing to comply with Constitutional Court’s ruling on changing waste management companies, as reported by De Facto.
The programme reports that approximately four years ago the ruling of the Constitutional Court was supposed to put an end to controversial contracts between municipalities and waste management companies. The old contracts were supposed to be terminated and new waste managers were supposed to be selected through procurement processes. Most did just that. However, approximately one-tenth of the country’s municipalities still have not selected new service providers.
Broceni and Saldus have not been able to find waste managers for the longest period of time.
De Facto notes that potential contenders seem to have flaws.
«Although contracts in both municipalities have ended, Viduskurzeme waste management company continues working there. The private company still has an insignificant share of the market in both municipalities. It is not possible to influence decisions. At the same time, it is hoped that waste sorting will continue being performed in the area formed by Viduskurzeme waste management organization,» the programme reports.
Other potential service provides may be against this. «We have to transport. This is why it is important to ensure recycling is performed here. We should transport less,» Chairman of Broceni Council Ainis Bruzinskis (Unity) explains the reason.
Residents of Saldus and Broceni pay EUR 11.33 per m3 for waste management services. This condition will remain until the new service provider is chosen. Waste management services are the cheapest in Skrunda – EUR 8.88 per m3. This service is the most expensive in Dobele – EUR 15.68 per m3.
De Facto reports that areas in which waste management services are provided by municipal companies have the highest prices. If the procurement process continues to stagnate, Saldus administration will consider providing this service on its own.
Rudite Vesere, head of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s Environmental Protection Department, notes that «municipalities were not too eager to address this matter. On the other hand, it is possible that municipalities lack knowledge and understanding on how to pick the best possible option – with and appropriate price and range of services.»
De Facto journalists say Saldus and Broceni municipalities at least put effort into complying with the law. Jelgava, on the other hand, is not even trying to look for a different service provider. Thirteen years ago, Jelgava municipality signed a contract with Jelgavas komunālie pakalpojumi. The contract will remain in force until 31 December 2029.
The programme reports that it is partially private company. Half of this company is indirectly owned by Gunars Bubulis. In addition, residents in Saldus and Broceni pay EUR 11.55 per m3, whereas Jelgava’s residents pay considerably more – EUR 14.74.
«The ruling of the Constitutional Court is intended to be applied at the moment when it is first announced. We had signed a contract long before that and we continue working in accordance with it. A businessman has invested private funds in the development of the industry. The industry develops, the city is clear and residents are satisfied. And so we have not reason to do things differently,» says chairman of Jelgava City Council Andris Ravins.