City watchdog questions yard waste company

Council finance committee to discuss Advanced Disposal's actions

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Should the city pay out more money to a yard waste company that may owe the city millions?

That's the question a Jacksonville City Hall watchdog wants answered in a council finance committee meeting Tuesday night.

The moving of yard debris is something many Jacksonville residents may take for granted and something they may need to appreciate more often than they do.

"But frankly, it's all really our money," said John Winkler, president of Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County. 

Winkler, who is also an independent candidate for Duval County Clerk of Courts, says the trash company Advanced Disposal hasn't lived up to its end of the waste-removal contract with the city of Jacksonville.

Simply put, he said, Advanced Disposal gets paid when yard waste arrives in a specialized landfill on Old Kings Road in Northwest Jacksonville.

Advance Disposal is supposed to recycle the yard waste. And if not, it pays back about 55 percent of the fee it initially received.

Winkler says it's clear to him that it's not happening that way.

"No matter how you slice it, Advanced Disposal is making $10 a ton on handling this yard waste," Winkler said. "But they're only supposed to receive that much if they recycle it. They have not been paying us the $7 a ton they're supposed to be paying us."

A spokesperson for Advanced Disposal was unavailable for comment Monday.

In the meantime, Winkler says Advanced Disposal's explanation should carry weight when it comes to an ordinance the City Council finance committee is considering -- a bill to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Advanced Disposal -- an incentive for creating new jobs.

Winkler believes the company owes the city more than $4.5 million based on annual reports he uncovered, added up and projected to this year.

"You wind up with -- at $7.60 a ton in host fees that they owe to the city of Jacksonville -- $4.6 million that hasn't been paid," Winkler said.

Winkler wants the council finance committee to stop the taxpayer incentive measure until the host fees issue is completely resolved.

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