Nosara, Nicoya

Process to Award Contract for Nosara Trash Collection Continues Despite Disapproval from City Attorney

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Nosara trash collection is a little closer. Members of the Nicoya city council – with the exception of Carlos Medina – gave their approvals for the city to continue with the process to contract out the service despite the legal department’s opinion that there are irregularities.

Mayor Adriana Rodríguez, chief of procurement Teresa Fallas and the head of the environmental department Jorge Esquivel rejected this legal opinion and agreed with the council members who urge finding a solution to the environmental and public health problem that affects Nosara.

Director of the legal department Miguell Guillén said in a document that the contract didn’t make clear the rules for how bidders should present their documents. He also argues that the range of options is limited because it is suggested that the team of workers must be from Nicoya.

“On this issue, there must be total certainty about what is required so that bidders can offer their services,” said the document, which was obtained by Voice of Guanacaste.

For the mayor, the problem must be resolved promptly and changing the contract would require more time and delays.

“It’s possible that we face lawsuits over this (if the contract isn’t signed soon),” Rodríguez said in the council meeting.

But without a signature from the city’s legal department, the contract, which must be signed soon, won’t be valid.

In order to face this potential situation, the council’s legal committee approved the possibility for the administration to continue with the contract awarding process and have another legal entity sign the final document. This decision is based in regulations regarding public contracts.

“We are going to ask Gerardo (the council’s attorney) to sign the contract,” Rodríguez said.

The more than 20 Nosarans that attended the meeting celebrated the council’s decision while they held signs with messages such as “act now” and “we all have the right to a healthy environment” and “we’ve been waiting 20 years for a response.”

Historic Battle

In September 2017, the service seemed to be nearing Nosara after at least five years of insisting by the Nosara Recicla Association and the Nosara Civic Association.

But the city’s legal department halted the process after an appeal was filed by Aurora S.A, the company that currently collects trash in Nicoya and alleges that they weren’t considered for the contract.

According to the city, the contract can’t be awarded to Aurora S.A. because hiring them for the new route would mean paying them an addition 50% on top of what they are paid for Nicoya collection and that, according to the public contract law, is illegal.

In July, the city promised once again to start collecting trash in Nosara. The environmental management department and the procurement office used the same terms for an abridged bidding process that they used when the hired out the collection service in Nicoya in order to avoid problems with the legal department.

But department officials still gave negative opinions about awarding the contract.

Now, with this accord from the council and the continuation at city hall of the contracting process, Nosarans once again see trash collection as coming soon.