South Miami

South Miami

South Miami rejects plan to privatize trash collection

 

SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD

Applause spilled out of the doors of the commission chambers at South Miami City Hall on Tuesday as commissioners unanimously rejected an ordinance that would have privatized the city’s solid waste department.

City Manager Steven Alexander and his staff worked on the proposal with Waste Pro of Florida Inc., which could have saved the city more than $600,000 annually. Eleven jobs within the city’s public works department would have been affected had the proposal passed.

“I don’t think that I feel comfortable moving with this outside of a complete understanding of the budget and a necessity to do this,” Mayor Philip Stoddard said at the meeting. “I share the residents’ concerns. I see the obvious financial benefit. Public waste is certainly not broken. We get excellent services.”

Commissioner Bob Welsh suggested the commission defer the item and seek proposals from other trash-collection companies, but found little support.

“It was a franchise agreement that needed four votes to pass,” Alexander said. “It became clear that there wouldn’t be four votes. It’s about $600,000 we had that we are going to have to take out of the proposed budget.”

South Miami did not solicit proposals from trash companies, but planned to use the same agreement Waste Pro of Florida holds with the Village of Biscayne Park, established on a competitive solicitation.

Biscayne Park has a population of around 3,000 residents compared to 12,000 in South Miami.

“My feeling is even after an RFP [formal search for a trash company], whatever company came in, the results would be exactly the same as they are now,” Vice Mayor Walter Harris said at the meeting.

The city held a workshop Aug. 4 where financial experts from the city and Waste Pro discussed future plans with prospective employees.

“I would like to make it clear that from the start it was always what was in the best interest of the employees,” Harris said at the meeting. I say we had 22 remarks (Monday) strongly against going forward. I would vote no, not to defer, but to vote on it.”

Waste Pro has more than 165 municipal contracts with cities including Hollywood, North Miami, Pembroke Pines, and Biscayne Park.

“I would like to thank our city manager and his staff for doing their very best to look after the residents with the budget,” Stoddard said. “They have put forward what I think is a good proposal. We have not supported it, but I think we are all extremely appreciative that the manager has worked so hard to save us money and enable us to do more good things for the residents. ...

“I would also like to recognize Waste Pro for putting up the proposal to hire all of our employees. I would like to thank all of the residents and employees who spoke eloquently and conducted themselves civilly. You are always welcome back in City Hall.”

Read more South Miami stories from the Miami Herald

  • South Miami

    City increasing savings for emergencies

    The South Miami commissioners voted unanimously to approve a tentative property-tax rate of $4.36 per $1,000 in taxable property value after the city’s first budget hearing Tuesday.

  • Soapbox

    Letter: South Miami pool was long overdue

    Re Antoinette Fischer’s letter, South Miami pool will be a money pit (Soapbox, Aug. 31): Cost isn’t the only issue regarding South Miami’s Aquatic Center. For 40 years, the city’s African-American residents have been asking for a community pool. The idea of a public pool was first discussed in the predominantly African-American parts of South Miami after several lives were lost due to drownings.

  • Florida Highway Patrol

    Pedestrian struck and killed in South Miami-Dade

    A 60-year-old Miami woman died late Friday after being struck by a minivan as she attempted to cross S.R. 994 in south Miami-Dade, police said.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK