"It makes a contract meaningless if they don't have to abide by it," said Councilmember Laurie Cole at the Vienna Town Council's Nov. 8 meeting.
Calico Industries of Annapolis Junction, Md., provides the Town with the clear garbage bags that are then sold to town residents. The Town entered the contract with the company in 2002, and on July 12 of this year, it authorized the second of four possible one-year extensions.
The Town pays $6.10 for a case of 50 bags and sells them to residents for $7.98, keeping the difference to offset storage and handling costs, said Dennis King, director of the Department of Public Works.
Calico contacted King, he said, asking to increase the price. Since plastic bags are made with resins from oil and natural gas, and the prices of those resources have gone up, Calico needs more money, King said. "In order for them to meet their cost, they are asking for an increase," he said.
Although the town has specific criteria for size, design and thickness of the bags, King reported that Calico said it would have to supply different sorts of bags if it did not get more money. The company also implied, King said, that the costs might drive it out of business.
The Council was generally unsympathetic to Calico's position. "My difficulty is, they're in the business of making plastic bags. They know that the cost is volatile," Cole said.
She said the potential cost increases should have been accounted for when they made their bid. "I doubt if the price of oil had dropped they'd be coming to us to ask to give us a break," Cole said.
Others scoffed at Calico's hardship plea. If the Town granted the increase, it would pay Calico approximately $1,600 more, bringing the total to $10,000. "I doubt if our business of $10,000 per year is going to put Calico out of business," said John Schoeberlein, town manager.
The Council voted unanimously to hold Calico to its contract and not grant an increase.
IN OTHER business, a variety of measures were approved, all unanimously. The Town Council took the following action:
* Passed an ordinance to allow it to construct security fences around Town or other government facilities;
* Approved a contract with Lindenmeyr Muroe of Jessup, Md. to provide paper for the Town newsletter at a cost of $84 per 1,000 sheets;
* Approved adding a non-police employee to the Retirement Plan Administrative Retirement Committee;
* Approved the addition of a new program that will be offered as an option to employees to set up medical savings plans;
* Approved the purchase of 600 tons of road salt at a cost of $49.02 per ton;
* Approved $11,693.20 for a new traffic cabinet to replace a damaged one at the intersection of Beulah Road and Church Street;
* Approved the purchase of two kilns for the Bowman House at a cost of $5,940.