JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM is digging deeper into the frustrations with trash pickup in Jacksonville, taking a look at the contracts the city has with its trash haulers.
It’s now been three months since curbside recycling pickup was suspended, forcing residents to take recycling to drop-off centers or just throw it out with regular garbage. And residents tell the I-TEAM they’re still dealing with problems getting yard waste picked up — something the recycling pause was supposed to help.
Right now, the city has contracts with three companies — each one serves a different part of town. Two contracts expire in 2023. The third just started Oct. 1 and runs through 2027.
The city tells us that at this point, there are no plans to take steps to terminate any of the contracts early. But as the city has already fined some of these contractors, one Jacksonville City Council member wants to know why that’s not leading to change.
″These are big fines. First of all, I want to know why the fines aren’t working and what is the city is doing with the fines,” Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci said in reference to the more than $2 million in combined fines the city’s private waste haulers faced in 2021.
Advanced Disposal Services was fined more than $1 million. Waste Pro of Florida was fined $724,000. And Republic Services was fined $536,000 before its contract was terminated.
Carlucci says he’s working to find out where that money goes once it’s paid, saying he suspects it will go to the solid waste department’s budget or the city’s general fund. When we asked Carlucci if he would support terminating another hauler’s contract if they keep failing to do their job, he said he’d rather work through the existing issues.
″I don’t want to use that type of language, terminating anybody, but if we found some real bad discrepancies going on and some situations that warrant termination, then of course,” Carlucci said. “But I’d rather get these haulers back to work because once you have a new hauler, then you have another time of transition there, and it keeps going and going.”
Carlucci is calling for accountability and transparency, and he’s planning public meetings in mid-January to get answers from contractors and city administrators.
The first public meeting is Thursday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. at City Hall.
A town hall will then be held at the Charles Webb Wesconnett Regional Library on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m.
A second town hall will be held Thursday, Feb. 3, in Arlington, but the location has not yet been announced.
“The administration, private haulers and myself will be there,” Carlucci said. “We want to have well-ordered meetings that are informative.”
Carlucci says the goal in each of the meetings is to share information, receive feedback and set expectations for when the recycling program will be restored.