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Waste Pro / City Trash Saga Heading Down to the Wire:  Roll Offs & Recycling Are the Issue

Related:
Waste Pro / City Trash Saga Heading Down to the Wire:  Roll Offs & Recycling Are the Issue August 23, 2019
Lake City Garbage Woes: Will Low Rates and Pickups Continue Uninterrupted? August 21, 2019
City Residential Garbage On Tap Monday Night: Residential Rates May Be Heading Up – Way Up August 19, 2019

LAKE CITY, FL – On Wednesday, August 21, Waste Pro served up three pricing options to go along with the four previously presented to the City Council. Waste Pro is asking the Council to pick an option at its September 3 Council meeting. If the Council does not decide, the contract will be extended for five more years as is.

Background

On August 20, 2012, after going out to bid, the City Council awarded the City's garbage contract to Waste Pro. The effective date of the contract was October 1, 2012. The term of the contract was 5 years.

The City Council approved a restated contract in 2014, effective October 1, 2014, extending the contract for 5 years.

Dayna Miller and Frank Kramer wait to address the City Council on Feb. 4, 2019
February 4, 2019: Dana Miller and Frank Kramer wait to address the City Council and remind them about renewing their contract with Waste Pro.

The contract gave Waste Pro the exclusive right to collect all residential and commercial garbage and construction debris in the City limits.

Waste Pro was required to pay a franchise fee to the City of 10% for residential pickup and 12% for commercial customers and roll off containers.

On February 4, 2019, Waste Pro's Dayna Miller and Frank Kramer appeared before the City Council and reminded the City that they should begin thinking about renewing the contract. The City Council authorized City Manager Helfenberger to begin negotiating with Waste Pro.

On March 11, 2019, Mr. Helfenberger sent a certified letter to Waste Pro, as the contract required, stating in relevant part the following: "City shall have option to renew this Agreement for an additional term of five (5) years commencing October 1, 2019, upon the same terms and conditions of this Agreement, provided that City gives Contractor written notice by certified mail of its election to renew this Agreement by no later than April 1, 2019."

This letter satisfied the notification requirements of the contract and the City and the contractor could have sat back and done nothing.

However, Waste Pro sent along to the City four renewal options for the City Council to contemplate.

On August 19, the City Council couldn't figure out what it wanted to do. See: City Residential Garbage On Tap Monday Night: Residential Rates May Be Heading Up – Way Up

On August 21, Waste Pro sent the City three additional renewal options.

The Council meets again on September 3 when it can choose between 8 renewal options.

The Issues: Recycling & Roll Offs

There are a couple of options that eliminate residential recycling from the contract. This will lower residential rates 3 to 6 percent depending on the other options.

With landfill waste and issues with the environment on many people's minds, eliminating recycling may harm the reputation of Lake City in the eyes of some of the public in Lake City and elsewhere.

Lake City Council Woman Melinda Moses
Feb. 4, 2019: Council member Moses - she had plenty of time to prepare.

Only about 22% of the public recycles. This may be due to a lack of education. Councilman Greene took the lead on the Council and was its leading proponent for removing recycling.

City Councilwoman Melinda Moses, a retired Lake City school principal, said her constituents recycle, and then said she was in favor of eliminating recycling.

Mayor Witt and Council members Hill and Jefferson didn't directly address the recycling issue.

Commercial Roll Off Containers

A handful of private carters want to provide commercial pickup and roll off business in Lake City.

Columbia County Commissioner Rocky Ford
August 19, 2019: Commissioner Rocky Ford makes his case for independents being allowed to do business in Lake City.

They and their supporters claim that giving Waste Pro the exclusive franchise in the City is undemocratic, monopolistic, illegal and more expensive or some combination of the four.

Waste Pro says in order to keep residential rates low, the commercial side of its business subsidizes the residential side. There are 3,000 residential pickups inside the City limits.

Estimates vary as to the number of residents affected, but a reasonable estimate would be around 9,000.

The independents also claim that Waste Pro is more expensive than they are.

According to Waste Pro's fee schedule and land fill fees a 40 yard roll off filled with 4 tons of construction debris would cost a customer $462.

According to Rocky Ford of Sheppard's Containers, Sheppard charges a customer a flat fee of $500 for a 40 yard container.

The 4 ton figure comes from the landfill as the average weight of a 40 yd container at a rate of $37 per ton.

Lake City City Council, City Attorney Fred Koberlein highlighted
City Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr., (far right) on Feb. 4, when Waste Pro reminded Lake City it was time to think about renewal. Six months later, August 19, Mr. Koberlein offered nothing during the renewal discussion to clarify the contract issues for the Council.

The New Options

Every option that removes the exclusive commercial franchise from Waste Pro will result in an increase for residential pickups.

Waste Pro is also offering a 10 year extension option, which includes recycling, and leaves residential and roll off rates basically unchanged.

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