Cape Coral to Waste Pro: Pick up the trash, or pay the fines

Cape Coral will start hitting its solid waste contractor with fines of up…

Cape Coral to Waste Pro: Pick up the trash, or pay the fines 1

Discarding a suggestion from its city manager, the Cape Coral City Council voted Wednesday for sharp increases in penalties against Waste Pro USA for missing trash and rubbish pickups.

The council voted unanimously to slap the company with financial penalties for missing  pickups.  Fines start at $250 and increase in $250 increments to as much as $1,500 per occurrence. 

Council members backed Mayor John Gunter’s proposal for the  sharply increased fees for missed collections. He noted a litter problem has arisen on city streets, caused by rubbish collections that don’t happen as they should.

Promise: ‘We are going to get back on track,’ Waste Pro promises Cape Coral City Council

From 2018: Cape, Waste Pro discuss trash complaints, 

Manager Rob Hernandez had suggested that the council consider adopting a call-for-pickup procedure to make sure bulk trash and yard waste is picked up.

But council members  opted to force the issue, rather than ask residents to make appointments to have big items lugged away. 

“Everybody is blaming us … there’s trash all over the place, you’ve got people calling and complaining,” Gunter said, addressing his remarks to a Waste Pro manager. “The fact of the matter is we signed a contract for you to pick up the trash each week on a designated day and that’s not happening.”

Fines collected under the council’s new rule would go to lower the next year’s trash contract price.

Four types of material are picked up curbside in Cape Coral, household rubbish, recycling, bulk items and yard waste.

While stopping short of making it a formal proposal from his office, City Manager Rob Hernandez  suggested the council consider attacking the issues of long delays before pick-up of bulk or agricultural waste by having residents request collection of refuse from those categories on their regular rubbish collection day.

Households do not always have bulk or yard waste to dispose, but generally  have household trash and recycling out at the curb on every collection day. 

Having the bulk pickup trucks run the same routes as household trash pick-up is “extremely inefficient,” Hernandez said because it requires trucks to literally cruise the trash collection area of the day, hunting for yard waste or bulk items sitting at curbside, waiting to be  to taken away.

The manager said picking up yard and bulk waste would be “more efficient and more responsive,” if residents called, e-mailed or used a cell phone application to schedule those types of rubbish pick-up on regular collection day. 

That idea wasn’t enough for council member  Dan Sheppard, who made it clear he will tolerate seeing rubbish sitting at curbside in his neighborhood on pick-up day, and only on pick-up day. 

“That’s on Mondays for me,” Sheppard said. 

Waste Pro manager Bill Jones told the council the appointment method would be considered by his company, and tried to soothe Cape Coral denizens about their rubbish woes by saying his company was “very excited” about the chance to help out on clean-up days in local parks.

Sheppard showed little patience with the current situation.

“We’re wasting a lot of time  with  trying to come up with ideas for apps and websites and call-in and all that — it should be your true trash day and all your trash goes out,” Sheppard said. “At the end of the  day,  the trash is gone and if it’s your trash day and you decide to throw a mattress out with the trash, that’s gone too.”

The rubbish company made the mistake of not picking up all of Sheppard’s waste on regular collection day, Monday. 

“This week on my trash day, my trash and recyclables were picked up, but our lawn trash is still laying there,” he said. “It should all be gone on trash day … your job is to pick up the trash — pick up the trash”

Sheppard was also sharply critical of Waste Pro’s claim that it couldn’t hire enough people to run the trash routes.

“It’s a joke. I’m insulted,” he said. “The little landscaping company that loses employees, he finds a way, he pays them more money and he gets two more guys and he gets the job  done… I don’t want to hear  the excuses and about all the systems that we need to create.”

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Cape Coral to Waste Pro: Pick up the trash, or pay the fines 2


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