The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved a motion Tuesday, Aug. 20 for town staff to negotiate with a new solid waste disposal contractor, Coastal Waste & Recycling, while continuing negotiations with its current contractor, Waste Pro.
Waste Pro has proposed an increase of $7.50 per month, per household.
Assistant Town Manager Francine Ramaglia said staff had talked with other solid waste disposal providers about a contract, including Advanced Disposal, which recently entered into a contract with the City of Westlake, but that firm declined an offer to work with the town.
“At our last meeting, you asked if we would go back and see what Advanced Disposal could do for us,” Ramaglia said. “They were very willing to try to accommodate us as part of an agreement with the Solid Waste Authority. They actually made a capital request so that they could get new equipment, not because we asked for new equipment, but because they have deployed their other equipment, and they were turned down for their capital request. I’m not surprised by that, because they are in the middle of a six-month transition prior to acquisition. They said they were very sorry, but their equipment had already been deployed to Westlake.”
The town has also been continuing to speak with Chris Schulle, regional division manager for Waste Pro, the town’s current contractor.
“Chris and Waste Pro are very happy to work with us in terms of looking at changing our business model, and they appreciated all the different suggestions from the selection committee,” Ramaglia said.
However, for a one-year renewal, their price would be $42 per month, per residence, up from $35.50 per month.
“They also have some significant equipment maintenance costs that they have to do, so that’s why it’s $42 for the upcoming year,” she said, explaining that a request for proposals for a new contract would be for five years at the current rate if the town does not get new cans. “We pay $35.50 right now. If we wanted to get new cans, we would add $2.10 a cart, and that would make it $37.60. We can stay with the cans we have and keep it at $35.50.”
Ramaglia asked the council to give staff permission to speak with Coastal Waste & Recycling without closing negotiations with Waste Pro, tentatively to be discussed at the Sept. 5 council meeting.
“Hopefully, we would be able to bring you something else back to consider,” she said. “We can make a decision to go with Waste Pro tonight and not go to Coastal, or we could make a decision to talk to Coastal and see if there is a way that we have an advantage from talking to them.”
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia told Schulle that one of the questions she is getting from residents is whether they can have more than one collection can.
“Every now and then we clean out our garages. While it’s not a regular thing all the time, for some folks it is,” Maniglia said. “Is that going to be an issue?”
Schulle pointed out that the town owns the cans.
“If you tell me that this resident now has two cans, we make note of it,” he said.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said it has not yet been determined if a resident with two cans would be assessed for a second can, although the previous contract provided for a second can at a reduced rate.
“The thing we cautioned you about was not allowing people to amass cans to substitute for commercial containerized service,” Titcomb said.
Maniglia asked if the town could allow periodic cleanouts or selling collection bags for additional waste disposal, but Schulle said that could compromise Waste Pro’s tipping allowance with the Solid Waste Authority.
“This is all based on disposal credit,” Schulle said. “Going over the credit, who’s paying for disposal after that point? I am.”
Schulle added that the town continually goes over the allotted amount on yard waste and trash.
Maniglia said she felt Waste Pro had offered the best price, and she did not see Coastal Waste making a better offer.
“I say get this behind us, and I would like us to just go with Waste Pro. Either take the one-year or the five-year,” she said. “I know we have had problems, [but] this is the year to say, ‘You have a business, get a dumpster. The citizens of this town are not paying to pick up your debris.’”
Vice Mayor Dave DeMarois made a motion to follow the staff recommendation to begin negotiations with Coastal without concluding negotiations with Waste Pro.
“I want to at least have another option to look at,” DeMarois said, citing problems that the town has had in the past with Waste Pro.
The motion carried 3-1 with Maniglia opposed and Councilwoman Lisa El-Ramey absent.