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City in talks to use $4 million in federal to help pick up yard waste

Yard waste collection delays in Duval County top 9,000 complaints in just 1 month

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For months, there have been delays in picking up yard waste in Duval County neighborhoods.

Mayor Lenny Curry’s office said Tuesday it will try to work with the federal government in hopes of using $4 million from the American Rescue Plan to pay for resources that would help get the waste collected. What that might entail is currently unclear.

The Finance Committee took up the measure Tuesday, but it will need full City Council approval for it to happen.

“I’d expect that they’d have some combination of things where they’d bring in some triage truck, you’d call them, who could address the large issues right now, but at the same time trying to complement or supplement the labor issues,” explained Councilman Michael Boylan.

The city is also having trouble with some trash and recycling services since Republic Services’ contract was not renewed. Lack of workers have been a problem and another company, Meridian Waste, will take over Republic’s routes in October.

The I-TEAM discovered that in just the month of August, the city received 9,008 complaints about yard waste pick-up delays. That’s nearly 700 more complaints than were received in July. The city has repeatedly told News4Jax that, like many industries across the country, the haulers who service certain parts of the county are experiencing staffing shortages.

Cece Crawford lives in a neighborhood on the Westside, where there are many piles of debris.

“We look like we’re a slum city with garbage cans, yard waste cans, recycling cans sitting out on the curb at everybody’s street,” Crawford said.

A spokesperson told News4Jax that city solid waste employees have been working seven days a week to collect waste and city workers in other departments have also been asked to help, especially those who have commercial driver’s licenses and can legally drive waste collection trucks.

If you are having a problem with waste collection in Duval county, here’s how to report it: MyJax app, Myjax.custhelp.com or call 630-CITY (2489).

The city’s solid waste division services the urban core but hires three private haulers to service the rest of the county:

  • Advanced Disposal - Westside
  • Republic Services - North and east portions of Duval County
  • Waste Pro - services neighborhoods in the southeast portion of Duval County

The city has fined all three haulers for trash, recycling and yard waste delays. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Advanced Disposal Services: $62,400 fine in July 2021
  • SWS - Republic Services: $1,150 fine in July 2021
  • Waste Pro: $116,425 fine in July 2021

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.