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Palm Coast Residents Will See 9% Garbage Rate Hike as City Approves New Waste Pro Contract

| November 1, 2016

waste pro palm coast contyract

Waste Pro has been Palm Coast’s garbage hauler for the past 10 years. It’s about to get another five. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast residents will see their garbage rates increase $1.74 a month, or 9 percent, starting June 1 as the city council tonight is expected to approve a new five-year contract with Waste Pro, the garbage hauler that’s been providing trash, recycling and hazardous pick-up for the city for the past 10 years.

The price will increase from $18.62 a month to $20.36 a month on June 1 but remain constant through the duration of the five-year contract. The charge appears on residents’ utility bill. The past five years, Waste Pro had charged slightly less than it had from 2007 to 2011, when the monthly charge was $19.27. The company has controlled costs by converting its haulers to natural gas, a conversion Palm Coast favored.

The contract is being renewed despite a noticeable increase in complaints about Waste Pro in the past year–problems council member Steven Nobile, who’s not opposed to renewing the contract, pointed out in discussions about the renewal during a council discussion last week.

“How are we going to deal with the problems we’ve had with Waste Pro over the last year,” Nobile said, “because I know one of their issue was manpower, when you get that kind of turn-over, non-experience, we’re getting a little shoddy customer service, missed pick-ups, a lot of complaints I’m getting in that area.”

“We’re well aware and have sat down with them,” City Manager Jim Landon said. “A number of complaints we’ve heard since we sat down with them to me have been reduced, so I think they have put a lot of effort forward. The other thing is we fine them. Any time they don’t perform like they’re supposed to, there’s a penalty or a fine we actually charge them.” The city is “pretty diligent about that,” Landon said, “and we will continue to do that.” But he acknowledged that the problems have increased in the last few months because of turn-over. “I do think they’ve recognized they have problems.”

Waste Pro will be fined if “shoddy customer service” persists, the city pledges.

The new contract essentially renews the services in the existing contract: Garbage pick-up, single-stream recycling (menaing that consumers would not have to sort their own recycling), no automated systems for pick-up, two-person crews, and compressed natural gas vehicles. The city also wants to maintain the recycling rewards program and GPS positioning on all vehicles.

One advantageous difference for residents: hazardous waste pick-up will be much easier and less complicated. For the past five years, Palm Coast was among the pioneering cities that enabled residents to request doorstep hazardous waste pick-up, once a month, including for such things as fluorescent bulbs, paint cans and so on. But there was a serious caveat: each type of waste came with a minimum requirement, such as a minimum of four bulbs. That created a complication that discouraged a lot of residents from taking advantage of the service, which came at a price of 30 cents a month on the bill.

First, that charge will fall to 20 cents a month. Second, the minimums have all been eliminated. Each household has one Saturday a month that’s designated as a hazardous-waste pick-up day. But it’s still up to the resident to call Waste Pro to find out when that Saturday falls. The city intends to better promote that benefit in coming months. “We need to be encouraging our residents to use some sort of appropriate hazardous waste pick-up,” Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts said, especially with the removal of minimums. “If you look at the trend in hazardous waste, we’re going to be generating more hazardous waste, not less.”

The city administration has been working on a new contract since August, when it issued the request for proposal. The process has been somewhat less contentious than it was five years ago, when companies aggressively tried to lobby the city to wrest the contract from Waste Pro. This time the RFP drew just two submissions, including Waste Pro. The other was Advanced Disposal Services of Jacksonville.

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Five years ago, the request for proposals drew four bidders, among them Advanced Disposal, which came the closest to Waste Pro’s bid in 2011: Waste Pro in 2011 bid a base price of $18.47 a month per household, with Advanced Disposal coming in second, at $20.45. Waste Pro again beat Advanced Disposal, coming in with a base price of $20.16, compared to Advanced Disposal’s $20.47.

Residents could have seen a reduction in their garbage-disposal cost if the hauler picked up once a week instead of twice. That price reduction would have been $1.91 a month, or almost $23 a year, essentially negating all the projected price increase in the new contract and a little more. But the city administration is not recommending that option, with residents now used to the twice-a-week pickups. Nor are council members favoring it. “I can make it to the next one, I can’t make it another week,” Nobile said.

As was the case five years ago, there was no interest in automated pick-up systems because it reduces flexibility for residents and creates space issues in garages (the 35-gallon bins would be much larger than current bins), among other drawbacks.

Advanced Disposal Services filed a bid protest. The company objected to the city’s scoring of the two bids. The scoring involved five city staffers analyzing the bids and each providing a score. But it’s not clear where that protest is: the city attorney last month shut down any public discussion of it, as it was pending. Since the administration issued the RFP, the city council has discussed the proposals in three workshops, two of them last month. But tonight’s meeting is the first time it will take formal action to approve the new contract.

22 Responses for “Palm Coast Residents Will See 9% Garbage Rate Hike as City Approves New Waste Pro Contract”

  1. Automated Pickup says:

    Is the way to go… I hate dragging 3 different crappy cans out to the curb, When I lived in Ormond beach, I had a single day per week pickup, which was fine as the big container with its hefty wheels easily stored a weeks worth of trash for my family of 5 and was very sturdy and had a hinged lid, eliminating raccoons and stray dogs from raiding the trash which is a constant issue in Palm coast, I live on the edge of a pine forest and raccoons have no problem popping off the lids to the common home depot style cans. Not to mention my back! I would gladly give up double pickups per week in favor of a city provided large bin! No garage space? Two bins occupies more floor space than a single large one. I would pay a few bucks more no problem, or not complain to get a single day with large bin at same cost.

  2. steve miller says:

    We all should be able to vote on something this important

  3. blondee says:

    We must never go to once-a-week pickup!! Yuck too stinky in the summer months!

  4. MarkingTheDays says:

    Thanks a lot Obama

  5. woodchuck says:

    Fined?like the company redoing Holland Park?In the end the contractor should owe the tax payers money.

  6. Sw says:

    Well that means they can pick up the storm debris thats been sitting for 3 weeks. Lol not happening this place is a joke

  7. no says:

    Apparently this is an important issue

  8. Math chick says:

    Single weekly pickup encourages recycling and trash reduction. Also, a provided can with sturdy wheels AND automated pick up (no lids blowing around) would be ideal, if anyone asks me. However… they didn’t.

  9. r&r says:

    We should waste time and add more expenses to vote on something like this $1.74????????????????????????? The guys that service the W section do a fantastic job.

  10. Old Lady says:

    All the political signs and media scattered all over town should go straight to the dump!

  11. JAMIE Abbott says:

    I have been very disappointed in the quality of service reduction over the last year yet have not taken time to register any complaints about irregular times, spilled garbage, leaving cans in the road where they were damaged, and the occasional complete no show. However henceforth. You can bet that I will be lodging a formal complaint if so much as a bubble gum wrapper is left on my drive by careless employees. After years of exemplary service the recent contrast is deplorable.

  12. footballen says:

    The guys that work the route I live on are phenomenal!! I should tip them more often but they continue to do a n extraordinary job. They deserve a raise.

  13. Obama 2016 says:

    I am happy with Waste-pro. My only complaint is I never know what time they are going to come. I don’t like leaving my trash and recyclables out overnight do to animals and people pulling cans out of my bins and leaving a mess.

    Overall they have been very helpful and understanding when I have had issues, we have almost 80,000 in this city so you can’t be perfect.

  14. Fraudisreal says:

    These guys have ways done a good job I think, even with big items they take, I have been pleased at what they have taken. Don’t care about 1 or two day a week pickups or whatever. I would like mail to only be delivered 1 or 2 days a week, actually if you remove all the garbage the post office send you could do that one a month really, and have a lot less trash.

  15. tom says:

    I am very pleased with their service.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This service is SO much better than we ever had in Jersey. Twice as many pick-ups and 25% less charge. We could get rid of bulk items only 2 times a year. Another pleasant surprise.

  17. Layla says:

    Waste Pro does a good job. This is not going to break anybody.

  18. Amanda says:

    Totally agree that the only annoying part about WP pickup is never knowing a time that they will pick up the trash. Sometimes it is early AM, I leave for work at 730 and sometimes it is already picked up and other times it is still there when I get home at 5pm. The lid will be in the middle of the road and a bit of trash will be strewn across the ditch. But yeah, other than that whatever.

  19. Geezer says:

    Thanks a heap, Hillary.

  20. FL voter says:

    FYI: $19.27 in 2007 adjusted for inflation should be $22.19.

    Locking $20.36 for five years is a pleasant reduction in price.

  21. Shortster says:

    My issue isn’t with the potential increase. It is with the quality of service that I get in the R Section. There has been a significant increase in incidents whereby the garbage pick up is leaving trash in their wake. I find it very frustrating to have to pick up trash after they make their rounds when I get home from work…either my trash or from the neighbor. I live at the end of a culdesac and inevitably evidence of their efforts are left behind. If one makes the effort to properly secure and place their garbage/trash, then those responsible for picking it up should take a moment to pick up after themselves if they create a mess. Trash should be picked up, not left behind.

  22. Shortster says:

    And yes, I have made the vendor aware of my concerns and discontent…which apparently has fallen on unconcerning ears.

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