No timeline on return of curbside recycling to Jacksonville, says city official – Action News Jax
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE 11 p.m.:
The selective collection remains on hold and there is no timetable for its return.
Several city council members want a legitimate plan in place to get things back to normal, but the city tells Action News Jax the plan is complete.
Since October, Don Todd has been doing what many other Jacksonville residents have done — going to weekly recycling sites.
“I could be doing other things right now,” he said.
Several members of the Jacksonville City Council have met with contractors and city officials like General Manager Brian Hughes, who said there was no timeline for his return.
“I would give you an arbitrary date, we can create one from scratch if you wish. Whether we get that date or not, it won’t matter, because until the backbone resource issue is resolved, we can bring the pavement back,” he said. “If y’all pass a resolution saying ‘we don’t care, bring the pavement back’ we’ll do it next week, but a week later yard waste, bulk litter and trash will be back in the thousands of missed collections.”
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Regardless of the fines, carriers said it was not a financial issue, but a labor issue. Private contractors said they lost around 32 drivers to run a sufficient operation.
Waste Pro has lost about 20 drivers, Waste Management needs about 12 drivers and Meridian said they are full but have drivers with COVID-19 related issues and are still looking to recruit.
Action News Jax tried to speak with the carriers directly, but only a representative from Waste Pro spoke to us on camera. We asked them how long they think it will take to fill the positions.
“It’s very difficult, a difficult question to answer and I’ve been grappling with it for 5 years now,” said David Searcy of Waste Pro. “They talked about it here and there are a lot of things in the contract that need to be ensured and we need to be on equal footing in my thoughts.”
Council members like Matt Carlucci say they’ve heard enough about the issues and want some accountability.
“I think each of the carriers needs to let us know their plans to get back to the standard that our service and the city expects the public to expect,” he said.
The city says part of that plan would be to add transfer stations into the mix, saying that when the trucks fill up it can take too long and they can’t continue the pickup route from origin.
Meanwhile, the city charges an annual fee of $151.83 to each household, even if services are lacking. Those who want a refund probably won’t see it because the money is already tied up and the program is already operating with a deficit.
“The rest of the city budget is already driving up the cost of solid waste in some way, so that’s just a macro level of what the levy does,” Hughes said.
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For residents like Todd, he thinks it’s gotten out of hand.
“It seems like our city government isn’t handling this very well,” he said.
There was also talk at the meeting of removing the annual membership fee, but that would have to be discussed with the city council.
The city council would use the city’s corporate fund to get rid of the resident charge and they would see how it works exactly on the books for the budget. The council said all options are currently being explored.
Members of the Jacksonville City Council spoke with contract haulers of waste collectors Thursday afternoon about what is being done to address the city’s recycling problem.
We’ve been telling you about missed collections for months.
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Action News Jax’s Ben Ryan was at the meeting, and city officials said there was no timeline for the return of curbside recycling.
There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about whether there are any legitimate plans to fix the problem, but city officials say unless we want to go back to square one with issues like missed collections, there is no timeline for a return to curbside recycling.
Contractors and the city continue to stress the hiring shortage and how many drivers they lack to run a sufficient operation.
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Representatives from Waste Management said it currently needs 12 additional drivers to be fully staffed.
Waste Pro is around 12 drivers short, specified as 6 drivers short to run routes currently, but to cover calls they are around 20 drivers short.
Meridian Waste said they are currently full, but have a number of drivers who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed and are following guidelines, so they are still recruiting drivers with a driver’s license. drive business.
RELATED: City temporarily suspends curbside recycling in Jacksonville
Brian Hughes, the city’s chief executive, told council members there was no return in sight yet.
“I can give you an arbitrary date, I can pick one out of thin air if you want, and whether we hit that date or not won’t matter, because until the backend resource problem be resolved…we can bring the sidewalk back in. If y’all pass a resolution that says, “we don’t care, bring the sidewalk back”, we’ll do it next week, then a week later, yard waste, trash bulk and trash will be back in the thousands of missed trash collections,” Hughes said.
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