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Commissioners talk trash

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By Kellie Parkin

Cedar Key residents and businesses may soon be charged according to how much garbage they produce. Commissioners voted Tuesday night to proceed with exploration of a unit based pricing scale from current provider WastePro.  If approved, the change in service will take effect May 2010.  Preliminary quotes from WastePro staff include curbside recycling, garbage carts supplied by the company, residential trash removal once per week, and a bulk collection day once per month. The option does not include yard waste pick-up, leaving the city to find a different vendor for that item.  Residents will have the choice between a 35 gallon, 64 gallon, or 96 gallon cart. WastePro’s figures show a little less than one dollar per month saving for the 35 gallon option as compared to the 96 gallon service. The total amounts billed would most likely have a greater range, though, because the City would assume the disposal fee with this option, in turn billing the customer based on the amount of trash produced. By taking responsibility for the tipping fees at the landfill, the city stands to save a significant amount of money if Cedar Key’s recycling rate rises. By not paying WastePro a set disposal fee each month, the city can benefit if the costs go down. Commissioners asked city staff to work with WastePro to come up with a detailed proposal for both residential and business service before they vote to accept the new plan. If it is not satisfactory, they will open the competitive bid process to allow others companies a chance to make proposals.  Many residents at the meeting expressed disapproval of the city’s decision to not open the bid process now.  “Why is this commission afraid of going to bid?” asked resident Betty Rose Cook. “I would never consider (this)… without going to bid.” Cook also told the commission of her experience in the industry. ““For 35 years I was a trash hauler in St. Louis.” Commissioner Gene Hodges was the lone dissenter of the decision to move forward with WastePro. “We’ve looked at WastePro…But I can’t make a decision on that,” Hodges said. “I want to see what somebody else (offers). I’m not going to make a decision tonight until we get some comparisons."