The new Indian Rocks Beach garbage truck will be much like this one already in service.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The city of Indian Rocks Beach is going to have to pay more to continue its recycling program but changes could be in the works as a result.
Public Services Director Dean Scharmen said at the commission meeting Oct. 22 that back in January 2011 the city contracted with Waste Services Inc. to pick up recyclables at a cost of $1.54 per month per residence. Scharmen described the amount as a very good deal.
However, the company, now known as Progressive Waste Solutions, recently asked that the contract be amended.
“They said they simply could not continue to operate at the $1.54 level,” said Scharmen. “They want a $1 increase so it will now cost us $2.54 per month per residence.”
The contract with Progressive runs through December 2014 and Scharmen said he recommends that the commissioners approve it.
“We can then use the time to examine what we might want to do in the future,” he said. “Recycling is ever-evolving so in the next year we will be able to examine our options. They include going to a full blown single stream system, perhaps do the recycling ourselves, in-house, or a hybrid of the two.”
Commissioner Phil Hanna wondered if Scharmen and his people had any idea which way they might want to go in a year from now. Scharmen said they did not.
“Not by a long shot,” he said.
Commissioner Cookie Kennedy said that the participation in the curbside recycling by residents of IRB is the most in Pinellas County at 60 percent.
That prompted Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin to comment that the city of Fort Myers actually charges people who do not participate in the recycling program, and as a result, their participation rate is over 95 percent. Scharmen reminded the commissioners that the more people that recycle the cheaper it is for the city.
“We pay $37.50 a ton in tipping fees for the solid waste that goes to the landfill,” he said. “Take the recyclables out and the weight is less and so are the fees.”
Calling the entire recycling effort a moving target, Mayor R.B. Johnson said the city wants to continue the program. Commissioners then unanimously voted to accept the amended contract with the recycling company. Both sides have a 60-day opt out clause any time before the expiration of the contract.
New garbage truck
Commissioners authorized the purchase of a new garbage truck for the city, and it isn’t cheap. The new truck will cost just under $200,000. Public Services Supervisor Calvin Warren said while that may seem like a lot of money, there are trucks on the market that cost more than $400,000.
The new truck, a 2014 Freightliner SD, will replace the oldest truck in the fleet, a 2004 Sterling. The city operates a fleet of three trucks to pick up solid waste.
The commission also approved the purchase of a new pick-up truck to replace the 2002 Ford, which has reached its life expectancy. The new vehicle will be a 2014 Ford F-150 4x4 half ton pick-up at a cost of $20,000.
Coffee with a cop
City Manager Gregg Mims introduced a new program to increase communication between IRB residents and sheriff’s deputies. He calls it Coffee with a Cop.
Beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 7:30 a.m., at Crabby Bill’s, residents are invited to drop by and chat with sheriff’s deputies.
“There are no speakers or presentations,” said Mims. “We made a commitment to increase the communication between the Sheriff’s Office and our residents and this is part of it.”
Mims recently introduced an email address where residents can communicate directly with deputies as well.
At the first Coffee with a Cop session, Crabby Bill’s will provide a full buffet breakfast, free, to participants. After that coffee will be served with the buffet available to purchase. Sessions will be held quarterly. The next session after Tuesday, Nov. 5, will be on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Charter Review Committee
Commissioners were asked to bring a nominee for the charter review committee. The committee meets every 10 years to look over the city’s charter and make recommendations for change. The committee last met in January 2004.
It was decided that the committee should be made up of five people, down from the seven people who were on the committee 10 years ago. The mayor and commissioners are to submit names by the Tuesday, Dec. 10, commission meeting.
The commission must approve any changes recommended by the committee and then they must go to a referendum in the March election. The life span of the committee is roughly six weeks.
Commissioner Cookie Kennedy is Indian Rocks Beach’s nominee to serve on the newly merged organization of the Pinellas Planning Council and the Metropolitan Planning Organization. If selected Kennedy would represent the beach communities from St. Pete Beach to Belleair Beach. She is currently their representative on the Pinellas Planning Council.