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City approves new contract with Waste Pro

By Staff | Jun 2, 2020

The Cape Coral City Council on Monday voted to approve a long-term contract with the city’s trash collector, which will increase costs to taxpayers in the short term, but provide what officials say are much needed additional services in the present and future.

The city and Waste Pro ended negotiations that began last September by agreeing to a contract that could last 10 years and will address a long-standing problem with bulk waste, which some complain has sat on certain city properties for weeks without pickup.

The contract is for seven years with a three-year mutual agreement renewal. It will increase the rate of waste collection by 7 percent in 2021 and 1 percent each the following two fiscal years. There will be no annual Consumer Price Index increase next year, but there could be for the remainder of the deal if council approves.

Most important to many, the new deal establishes a weekly bulk pickup day and a process for non-compliant bulk. Other residential and commercial waste pickup will remain largely unchanged.

Several e-mails were sent in public comment in support of the new Waste Pro agreement. Councilmember Jennifer Nelson, who has been the point person with regards to trash collection, complimented Bill Jones, division manager at Waste Pro, on the job they did addressing collection issues by adding more trucks.

Other issues still remain, such as collection in areas where the Utilities Expansion Projects have occurred. Jones said they were able to fix things once they knew where the problems existed.

In other business:

n Police Chief David Newlan spoke with council about the city’s noise ordinance and how the bars and nightclubs would comply now that people are poised to return to venues following the pandemic and subsequent bar closures.

The city did a study before the bars closed on seven bars in the city, five of them in the South Cape.

Council was mixed on what decibel level on which to settle. The current level is 75 decibels before 11 p.m. and 65 decibels after throughout the city. There has been discussion on increasing the levels by two decibels.

Council discussed whether to raise the allowable levels, tone them down or leave them as is.

Nelson thought that she thought maybe the levels were too low, since 80 decibels is the noise of a hair dryer.

“I don’t want to set them up to fail; 75 decibels are more realistic. We have one row of residential across the street and that’s it,” Nelson said in argument against lowering the allowable max in an area that already has experienced complaints from both sides.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he didn’t agree with raising the levels, but added they could think about changing the times on the weekend.

“Maybe we can move the time to lower the volume from 11 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday,” Coviello said, whose approach was agreed to by Councilmember John Gunter.

Councilmember John Carioscia said the reason it’s up for discussion again is because the residents are complaining about the noise. If anything, the levels should be lower, he said.

“We’re trying to raise the level when residents are saying it’s too loud. I don’t support raising the level. Let’s leave it the way it is and enforce it,” Carioscia said. “People have the right to sleep.”

n The city also approved unanimously a resolution for a job incentive grant for Insite Managed Solutions.

The resolution approves $150,000 ($120,000 from FY20 and $30,000 from FY21) from the Economic Development Capital Investment Fund toward the retention/expansion and purchase/renovation of a South Cape building.

It also approves a $91,500 Employment Incentive Grant to be paid out over a three-year period starting in 2021 based on the hiring of 61 new full-time employees, more than double the current number, at an average salary of $76,000.

The next council meeting is Monday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m., at City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.