BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The City Commission Monday night laid out details to be included in a contract that will retain Waste Management, Inc. as the city's trash collector.
One faction, representing rival Waste Services, Inc. claimed that the commission's decision to continue with Waste Management flies in the face of a survey that shows public sentiment for Waste Services.
But Commissioner Troy Krotz downplayed that claim. He headed up a group appointed in May by Mayor Chris Arbutine that polled the city and found that 80 percent of residents were satisfied with Waste Management, which has served the city for 20 years.
The commission talked of a three-year contract that would allow a 15 percent increase in rates over that period of time. Tom Trask, the city's lawyer, will put together a contract that is expected to be approved next month with new rates becoming effective at the end of October.
The commission effectively approved Waste Management at its August 14 meeting by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Dave Shimkus casting the one nay vote.
Waste Services had surveyed residents with preference cards and Neil Brickfield, who has been assisting Waste Services, said that of 63 cards returned, 51 residents wanted a change, and preferred Waste Services.
With about 560 households in the city, the response represents more than 11 percent of households, which poll takers say is more than a representative sampling.
The question of what company would pick up the city's trash has been around for months and has enlivened some meetings.
For example, Shimkus at the commission's August 14 work session called the survey by the city committee headed up by Krotz irresponsible.
In fact, Shimkus said that Chris Arbutine was an "irresponsible mayor" and always has been, lashed out at the survey committee also as irresponsible and then included the commission itself as also irresponsible.
At one point, in the unfolding of this issue that has gone on for months, it appeared that three members of the commission - Bob Russo, Shimkus and Krotz, all of whom live on Southwind Drive - were dissatisfied with Waste Management and were pushing for a change.
In April, the commission split, 2-2, on the issue and that tie vote effectively retained Waste Management, according to Tom Trask, the city's lawyer.
But Shimkus insisted that because Russo was absent from the meeting the vote should be held again. He and Krotz at that time voted against Waste Management.
Shimkus wound up getting his way and the issue remained alive.
Arbutine then named a commission of citizens headed by Krotz who surveyed residents and came up with the information that 80 percent favored keeping Waste Management.
Back in April, a 2-2 commission vote with Russo absent, seemed to settle the case according to Trask, but Shimkus managed to revive it at a later meeting and the issue continued.
There was more delay when a vote at that time was not held because Commissioner Bret Nelson was absent. The sentiment was for a full commission to be present to take the vote.
In July, a defining vote was once again put off because Nelson and Krotz were absent.
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