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Small businesses get break on recycling fees

By Staff | Dec 14, 2010

City Council decided to use the increased recycle fees to offset the costs for waste collection service to small business owners in Cape Coral.
Fees for small business owners nearly tripled when Waste Pro took over the city’s waste management services this year. The average bill jumped from $22 to $68.
Waste Pro offered four options to bring that amount down, including raising residential rates 12 cents per month, or offering a portion of the city’s recycle revenues.
Stephen Bowen, who owns Stephen R. Bowen Construction Inc., said that the amount of trash he’s been putting out each week has diminished from week to week.
Simply reducing the fees isn’t enough, Bowen said, as was proposed with the option of using recycling fees. As originally proposed, use of recycle revenues would reduce the bills to $35.
“The reduction is not fair,” Bowen told council. “The only fair and equitable outcome is to reduce the fees to the previous amount.”
Council did Bowen one better, by lowering his bill from $22 to $21, by using more, if not all, of its new recycle revenues.
“I don’t like blindsiding these small businesses … I think we could put our money where our mouth is when we say we’re business friendly,” said Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz.
The change is service from Waste Management to Waste Pro affected roughly 275 small business owners in the Cape.
Under Waste Management, many of those businesses “fell through the cracks” when it came to rate increases, according to Assistant City Manager Carl Schwing.
All of the companies, including Waste Management, had increases for small business rates during the bid process earlier in the year.
Council approved the move 7-1, with Mayor John Sullivan dissenting.