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I Love Waste Pro. But.

| August 12, 2011

waste pro garbage contract palm coast garbage haulers

Magic, but not at customers' expense.

FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam’s weekly commentaries are broadcast on WNZF on Fridays just after 9 a.m. Here’s this week’s.

Twice a week for the past two years, my 7-year-old son has set his morning clock to the sound of Waste Pro’s garbage truck clanging through the neighborhood. The moment he hears it he rushes to the window and gets set for what’s become a sacred ritual.

Greg and Willy, the two haulers who’ve been on the route all this time, have played right along. The moment they appear below the window they honk, wave and do their work as they always have, cleanly and efficiently and to my son of course, magically, because a garbage truck is nothing if not a giant hat that makes a lot more than rabbits disappear. If Willy Wonka had been a trash hauler, Greg and Willy would have been his trusty Umpa Lumpas.

Five days before last Christmas, which also happened to be my son’s birthday, Greg and Willy also showed that they could make certain things magically appear. They’d left three gifts beautifully wrapped, with a card to my son, at the end of the driveway. It’s not an exaggeration to say that in my son’s eyes and ours, these men are heroes who make trash hauling glitter.

All this to say that I love Waste Pro. But Waste Pro’s contract is up this year, and Palm Coast is playing lazy games. Rather than bid it out, the city administration is pushing hard to renegotiate a five-year extension of the contract rather than bid it out. We’re not talking about a minor contract here. It’s close to an annual, $8 million deal. For households, the cost is more than two thirds the average property tax bill. Not bidding it after five years would be just plain irresponsible, especially considering the skimpy information the administration has allowed to filter down to the city council members, though the council’s own pathological lack of curiosity is to blame for that.

It’s no disrespect to Waste Pro to bid out and have options. Not in these economic circumstances. The city is not obligated to go with a low bid, or to abandon Waste Pro. But it is obligated to seek the very best deal for its residents—not to stick with what’s comfortable, what the city administration likes because it can;t be bothered with a transition (though it had no problem switching health insurance carrier when it meant more favorable rates for its own employees), what may or may not fit in the mayor’s garage, what even some of us and our children have become used to.

The Palm Coast City Council will decide at its Community Center meeting Tuesday evening whether to merely stick with Waste Pro or go out to bid. Let’s hope their decision doesn’t stink up the joint.

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12 Responses for “I Love Waste Pro. But.”

  1. Jack Howell says:

    I don’t see how the City Council could pass on putting this contract out to bid. It is a fundemental process of our democratic system. As a taxpayer, I demand that the contract be put to bid assuming that proper procedures for this are followed to the letter! For some reason I have an uneasy feeling if this could be accomplished.

  2. PJ says:

    It’s not a question of waste pro or waste management or for that matter any other company that can qualify and bid the service will be fine and do a good job. The right thing to do it to bid it out. waste pro bid this as a new company and knew that they coud lose it in the bidding proccess sometime later. The owners of waste pro are over the age of 21 and understand the business. Asfor the employees of waste pro just like all of us we need a job with that said should the bid go out and a new hauler is crowned the winner.Tthen all of the waste pro drivers can go to work there. My guess is waste pro will not help in this matter but the employees of waste pro should fill out applications with waste Management, republic, choice, and anyone else that may bid. I would start today. Just incase.

    PS Lazy Landon do your job. PUT IT OUT FOR BID!

  3. Johnm says:

    Well said Pierre!! Now let’s hope the City Council will do the right thing. Jack Howell, I agree with you to and demand that those elected to represent our interests really listen to what we are saying. Put this contract out to bid!!!

  4. MJohnson560 says:

    Yes, Mr. Landon, this needs to go out to bid. City Council, I hope you are listening!!

  5. Joe says:

    Waste Pro does a great job, I have no complaints about them. but it doesn’t mean that another hauler couldn’t do the same a little cheaper. The bid process is there for 2 reasons, 1 Since multiple companys usually bid, they have to give a competitive price for thier services competing for the business. 2 It provides transparent data to the city and community as to what is being provided for the taxes that pay the vendor. Why would you NOT want to go out for bid, I think these types of shananigans make the public suspicious and lead to mistrust of our officials.


  6. johnc says:

    Are you aware that Waste Pro uses day laborers? No benefits paid, no nothing, this company needs to go or have the city hammer out a better deal. I think $20 a month is a ripoff considering there only 2 of us in our household. The city should have 1 pickup a week from November-April. 2 pickups a week from April-November. Give the property owners a break!! What the city should do is have people pay by the bag. This would force more recycling, and giving the homeowner a say what is fair, 2 person household vs a large family under current contract. 2 person household produces less and should pay less. Large family produces more should pay more. Mr. Landon you make over $180,000 a year you are overpaid!!!!!!! Do your job and stop being sneaky or lazy!!

  7. PJ says:

    Peirre great article but rest assured the next contact will have the same guys on the truck because drivers will get hired and it will be the old contractor drivers going to the new should a new one get selected.

    johnc you are so right. what a great alternative? You should go to the bid and offer your service. Oh what am I saying “WHAT BID?”

    Landon needs to give back some money or go find another job. There are within the County three MBA public city experts with huge experiance to hire. I hope the city elected officials realize that we have local talent that will work for less and not push for pay raise after pay raise for himself.

    johnc you are brilliant!

  8. William G says:

    Mr. Landon appears to be biased with political motives, rather than the welfare of the citizens. He also seems to quite adept at circumventing the laws to fit his own desires. We have this type of politician in the federal government because we have less say in the choices. It may be time to consider Mr. Landon finding a new source of easy money.

  9. PJ says:

    If this contract does not go out to bid I’m going to contact the state attorney genera’s office and find out why Palm Coast is not following the Governor’s directive to bid all contracts when they end. This whole city council should be removed and Landon fired for not following state mandates.

  10. Dan Bozza says:

    I am totally confused!!
    We shouldn’t even be having this discussion! We’re talking about a $7.75 MILLION dollar contract.
    It should be mandatory that a contract this size be rebid every time it comes up for renewal! No questions asked! No discussion! Period! Case closed!
    What City Manager in the entire country would NOT rebid this contract?
    Is it just me or does anyone else feel like what we have for a City Manager is a loose cannon that cannot be believed or trusted about anything!
    Why does everything in Palm Coast have to become another redistricting circus or a $10,000,000.00 now we have it, now we don’t “magic” trick.

  11. PJ says:

    Well said Dan. This is a sham manager and a sham board. They all do nothing but disrespect the residents with the way they run this city. If you can make it tomorrow at 9AM the City is having a meeting on the agenda of the waste pro contract. Please speak up at that meeting and ask them to table it or refuse the agenda item.

  12. TJ88 says:

    Very nice read I enjoyed it

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