AVON PARK – After the City of Avon Park annexed the Crystal Lake community, Brentwood mobile home park and Banyan Woods apartments, differences between Highlands County’s contracted hauler and the city put into question who would be in charge of those communities’ garbage and recycling collections.
When the areas were annexed, rather than litigating the matter, the city reached a compromise with Progressive Waste Solutions, which includes Avon Park’s successful single-stream recycling program, not available anywhere else in the county. Progressive Waste Management is contracted with Highlands County.
The settlement was officially announced at the May 28 Avon Park City Council Special Meeting.
Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon said so far for 2014, recycling rates are up to 11 to 12 tons per week, giving all residents the opportunity to recycle. The city provides all residents with commercial-grade garbage and recycling carts.
“Today, most citizens understand the importance of sustainable environmental practices,” said Deleon.
According to the agreement, the city would start garbage and single-stream recycling services to the recently-annexed properties on beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
Deleon said whenever new service areas are annexed, the city works to bring programs to new residents. Between the three communities, another 601 garbage accounts would be added, continuing the growth of Avon Park’s utilities and sanitation services.
The addition of 601 more accounts will generate another $115,392 in annual revenues for garbage and recycling services, said Deleon, increasing sanitation gross revenues by another 9.6 percent.
“With the increased income and a better ability to spread out fixed operating and capital costs, for 2015-2016, we will aim for another garbage rate reduction,” Deleon said.
Avon Park Councilman Parke Sutherland said the city would “reap the benefits inherited from Progressive.” He said the resolution was the best way to get city-provided service.
“I’m pleased the council initially determined to litigate the issue. I’m ultimately pleased the parties were able to reach an amicable solution,” he said.
In January, the City Council voted to have City Attorney Gerald Buhr seek a court ruling on who gets to provide garbage pick-up at Crystal Lake Club, whether it would be the city or Progressive Waste Solutions, whose contract is up for renewal in September 2015. At the time, Deleon estimated the city would lose about $8,200 in hauling revenue per month from Crystal Lake.
Bob Watkins, president of the Crystal Lake Homeowners Associaton, said Wednesday he and most of his neighbors were glad the issue was resolved. He said making the transition from the county carrier to the city would help consolidate disposable items and his community would be switching systems beginning Jan. 1. They will be using two smaller, 32-gallon bins that will benefit older residents and pick-up will go to two times a week, one day for rubbish, one for recycling.
“I think they’re (the city) trying to work with us to do what’s best for the community; it’s better all around now,” he said. “I just hope it doesn’t backfire if people don’t have the storage space (for two bins).”
Progressive Waste Solutions is one of the largest, full-service, environmental solutions companies in our industry with over 7,000 employees who provide collection, recycling and landfill disposal solutions in the southeastern and northeastern U.S. and Canada.
Calls for comment from Progressive Waste Solutions, based in Ft. Worth, Texas, weren’t returned Tuesday.