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Cape to begin new contract talks with Waste Pro

By Staff | Sep 17, 2019

The city of Cape Coral will open contract negotiations with its current solid waste provider, Waste Pro.

Cape Coral City Council voted unanimously Monday to authorize City Manager John Szerlag to start contract renewal talks.

The contract is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2020. Waste Pro, which has provided service to the city since 2010, is seeking another five years of service to the city, to 2025.

If city staff and Waste Pro cannot agree to the terms on or before Dec. 31, staff will terminate negotiations, notify the city council and request authorization to issue a Request for Proposals for solid waste collection services. This would give the city nine months to find another provider.

Szerlag said that bulk pickup is going to be addressed during negotiations, however that would require an ordinance change.

“Many of the problems we have had with bulk waste is from rental properties. To help expedite the pickup of bulk, we’re looking to start a rental registry, so we know who the property owners are,” Szerlag said.

Rich Carr, code manager, said the approach also will use education as a key tool.

“It will give us the opportunity to touch every rental property in a more personalized way, which we don’t have,” Carr said. “We believe the reduction of occurrence is more important than the enforcement element.”

Carr said the chances are, more bulk trash comes from rental properties and not from homes where residents have lived for years. The ordinance would be tied to the property owner and not the tenants, Carr said.

Councilmember John Gunter said the registry would remove a step in the process.

“If we can get a phone number of the owner and call it, that is the benefit,” Gunter said “You can call the owner and that would save a lot of time.”

Resident Barbara Anderson had other issues, saying Waste Pro has been inconsistent regarding the pickup of recycle.

“They’ll pick it up one week then don’t pick it up for two weeks. They said they would call the supervisor, but he’s apparently out to lunch,” Anderson said. “I pay for weekly garbage and recycle.”

Council also heard from Kevin Ruane, mayor of Sanibel and Florida League of Mayors president. He talked to Council about the legislative priorities on water quality on the local, state and federal levels.

Ruane said it all comes down to quantity and quality. Quantity pertains to the 67 projects on the delivery schedule, put together by local, state and federal officials, including Everglades restoration. The problem is finding a way to fund these objectives.

“The House went through a process and passed perpetual funding of $200 million. The Senate is where the logjam is. Any senator can pull an item before it gets to the floor,” Ruane said. “Sen. Rubio has been a great ally and understands where the roadblocks are and the senators who pull bills. This is a contract they signed and they need to hold up to their end.”

Ruane also stressed the importance of home rule, eliminating septic use in homes and applauded the city for its pact with Fort Myers regarding reclaimed water.

In other business, the city council approved Pat Merchant to be an alternate on the Budget Review Committee and Adrian Costa and Paul Prince as members of the Construction Regulation Board following Kevin Shedd’s resignation. There are still two openings on that board.