John Casagrande, vice president of business development for Coastal Waste & Recycling, promised a smooth transition of waste collection to residents of Loxahatchee Groves at a Loxahatchee Groves Town Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Casagrande spoke during the public input portion of a meeting where the council later postponed the final reading of a contract with Coastal — replacing longtime hauler Waste Pro — to Tuesday, Oct. 15 in order to make minor changes to the ordinance.
“We are sticking to the schedule on Wednesday and Saturday, but we will have the bulk [pickup] truck in town five days a week until we get caught up, and it gets cleaned up, until everyone’s happy with what they see,” Casagrande said.
Mayor Robert Shorr asked if the company is identifying non-residential waste streams, and Casagrande said they are identifying them and cleaning them up for now.
“We’re cleaning them up, and we’re going to document the next time we go there, but we’ve got to start cleaning them,” he said.
Resident Jo Siciliano, a member of the town’s Unified Land Development Committee, asked if larger recycling cans are available, since the town gets a credit for recycled material.
Casagrande said larger cans are available from the Solid Waste Authority, which offers blue 96-gallon recycling cans.
During the council’s regular meeting, Town Attorney Brian Shutt explained that the second reading included minor revisions that did not change the essence of the ordinance, and the franchise agreement would come to the council for approval on Oct. 15.
Shorr asked if there was a provision prohibiting the unauthorized collection of recyclables from waste containers.
“I’m talking about somebody pulling up and pulling recyclables out of a can that was set out to be picked up,” he said. “We don’t want people perusing the neighborhood and picking the recyclables out because it costs us money. That’s our credit.”
Councilwoman Laura Danowski made a motion to postpone final reading of the ordinance to Oct. 15 in order to make minor changes, which carried 4-0 with Councilman Dave DeMarois absent.
In other business, the council rejected Danowski’s appointment of Matt Tacilauskas, president of the South Florida Sod Farm owned by the Miami Dolphins, to the town’s Planning & Zoning Board.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia asked that the item be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion.
“I have a serious problem with someone who works for a major developer sitting on our Planning & Zoning [Board],” Maniglia said. “He gets a paycheck from this gentleman. I think he’s a very nice person, but I feel that they do not represent what our town is about. I don’t mind commercial. I don’t mind ag. I do mind certain commercial; I think we all do.”
Councilwoman Lisa El-Ramey, who was attending the meeting by telephone, said she agreed with Maniglia in that B Road has become a designated ingress/egress for as many as 900 semi-tractor trailer trucks a year to haul sod from the farm. El-Ramey noted that the visioning workshop the previous Saturday spent time discussing concerns for the town, which included roads as a top concern.
“I think we have to be very careful with businesses that are coming into town that are generating these heavy truckloads going up and down the roads,” she said. “I haven’t had any personal interactions with Matt as a person, but I do see some concerns for him being placed on P&Z at this time.”
Shorr said he did not think Tacilauskas’ experience as a greenskeeper and sod grower fit the qualifications for the Planning & Zoning Board.
“I’ve met Matt through the last year or so with the sod farm, and he showed up for the community cleanups with his family,” Shorr said. “As a person, he’s a great guy and very open to anyone in the community coming in and talking to him about his business. However, what I do know about him, based on what he has presented to me in public meetings, is his experience on a golf course as a head greenskeeper and the agricultural part… I just don’t think that meets the experience that we want on the Planning & Zoning Board.”
Shorr added that he felt Tacilauskas would be a good candidate for any another committee.
Danowski said she had selected Tacilauskas due to topics discussed at the Saturday visioning session, which included challenges, threats and opportunities.
“The results of the survey [showed that] our biggest threat is development,” she said. “It’s up to us as the council and the town management to manage these things and make it work for us.”
She pointed out that a person who works for a billionaire must have learned something along the way. “Matt was born in Australia, he’s traveled the world, he’s been involved with really big projects, so my thought was that’s knowledge base coming into this town that could possibly show us how to do it better, how to do it smarter, how to come out ahead on the other side, how to leverage, how to play the game,” Danowski said, adding that Planning & Zoning is an advisory board whose recommendations go to the council, which makes the final decision.
Danowski also confirmed with Shutt that board members, like council members, are obligated to recuse themselves from a decision if it stands to benefit them or a family member.
She made a motion to approve Tacilauskas to the board, but it failed for lack of a second.
In other business:
• The council approved the appointment of Patrick Painter to the Roadways, Equestrian, Trails & Greenway Advisory Committee.
• The council approved a $40,000 non-matching technical grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for comprehensive planning to create an up-to-date map database covering all approvals and business tax receipts to identify properties that are not consistent with town code and come up with recommendations on how to address them.
• The council approved the first reading of an ordinance to move the date of municipal election to be held concurrent with the Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday, March 17.
• The council approved the second reading of an ordinance designating the Planning & Zoning Board to act as the Local Planning Agency. A motion by Danowski carried 3-1 with Councilman Dave DeMarois absent and Maniglia dissenting.