I-TEAM: City considers ending contract with waste company

City weighs option after thousands of reports of late pickup, I-TEAM probe

By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city of Jacksonville is considering ending its contract with waste hauler company Republic Services after thousands of reports of trucks not picking up trash, recycling and yard waste, the News4Jax I-TEAM has learned.

City records show Republic Services and Waste Pro collectively have more than 14,000 reports of missed trash collection this year.  

Both companies have faced fines. According to city records, Republic Services was fined $15,500 over incomplete routes and hydraulic fuel leaks that damaged roads in nearly a dozen Jacksonville neighborhoods. 

The I-TEAM spoke to several neighbors, such as Jerrily Andreu, who said they are fed up with inconsistent service.

"My yard waste never gets picked up. Never. It sat out there for three months. You can see the big black spot out there right now," said Andreu, who lives near Julington Creek. "If we pay you to do a job, you should either not have that job or have financial consequences because of it. And I don’t mean $10. I mean something that is substantial."

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In an Oct. 4 situation report to the Office of Mayor Lenny Curry, the Department of Public Works said it "continues to receive significant 'missed collections' from the Arlington area and, even with constant attention by Solid Waste management to Contract Hauler management, the challenges continue." The Department of Public Works said in the report that is "gathering OGC (Office of General Counsel) input and appropriate process to assess options for re-bidding one of the areas."

According to a city map, waste hauler Republic Services serves the Arlington area. 

Brian Hughes, the city's chief administrative officer, said the mayor’s office shares the frustration residents have with the trash companies. 

"I can tell you, on behalf of Mayor Curry and the administration, there is a level of frustration. It’s almost two steps forward, two steps back," Hughes said. "We have a good stretch. We meet. We talk. We understand the problems. We get commitments and then all of a sudden it trails off again."

In August, according to the city records, the city asked Republic Services to maintain an average fleet age of six years old. The city wrote it believed the age of the trucks to be the source of the issues. 

"We are at a point where we need consistency. The contractors currently understand we are not satisfied that we got consistency," Hughes said. "All solutions are on the table. We have a number of rights in our contracts when we have given them opportunities to give good, consistent service and they fall short."

According to the situation report, the Department of Public Works is scheduling a meeting with Hughes to discuss options moving forward. Hughes said a date has not been set yet for that meeting. 

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