WINTER HAVEN – During an Aug. 26 discussion about next year's city budget, City Manager Mike Herr proposed changes to how trash, recycling and street sweeping services may be conducted next year if approved by the city commissioners.
Next year's budget will likely be set Sept. 23. The city commission meets again to discuss the budget on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The recycling and street sweeping contracts with vendors Advanced Disposal and USA Services are expiring soon. On Aug. 26 city staff discussed the possibility they may be able to do the same job better and at a lower cost.
Currently, two city employees work the city trash collection trucks. Herr proposed purchasing three new solid waste trucks that are more automated, meaning one staff member would have to operate the truck. This would free up a city employee to drive an automated, new city recycling truck. A street sweeper vehicle and driver would also have to be purchased under this scenario.
The combined cost to purchase the seven new vehicles and hire a street sweeper is roughly $2 million, but city staff say there are unspent funds from last year that could be used to pay this expense without taking on any new debt.
Herr and Public Works Director M.J. Carnevale said that currently streets are swept once per month. Using new mapping technology, if a city employee drove a street sweeper, that staff member could pinpoint problem areas as needed as opposed to doing the entire city once per month.
Winter Haven City Commissioner Pete Chichetto said the high cost of maintaining expensive recycling and street sweeping vehicles was the primary logic used to convince the commission to subcontract the work out several years ago. Chichetto asked how it would be less expensive to do that work in house again now. Staff mostly focused on helping the commissioners to understand that city staff could do street sweeping more effectively.
Contact Charles A. Baker III at firstname.lastname@example.org.