Minneapolis’ longtime garbage contractor is getting a sweeter deal than expected.

The City Council voted Tuesday for a five-year agreement with trash consortium Minneapolis Refuse Inc., months after approving a three-year contract with two one-year extensions.

"Our staff believes that the five-year contract  … was what gave us the best deal,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden. “And that is also similar to what they're seeing in looking at other contracts in other similarly situated communities."

The city sought bids this year from companies to haul half the city’s trash (city crews already handle the other half) as Minneapolis Refuse Inc.’s latest contract is due to expire in 2014. MRI has done the job for decades and secured the work again in 2008 after the city opened it up for competition, following a lawsuit and heated discussions about whether the city was getting the best deal.

The consortium had to agree to abide by a labor peace resolution that allowed the Teamsters to try to recruit employees to become union members on the condition that MRI could not have any work stoppages. Aspen Waste, the main rival for  the job then and now, rejected the labor peace requirement.

MRI beat out five other companies for the contract this year, coming in lower than its current price.