Many residents attended the workshop to discuss trash pickup rates based on a Subscription or Universal option in Sebastian, Florida. The City Council wanted to vote on one of the options on Wednesday, but need more time.
Waste Management is the current provider of trash collection services, and its contract with the City of Sebastian expires in July of 2023. The city recently asked companies to bid on trash collection services in Sebastian, but only Waste Management responded.
According to their proposal, the company is buying all new trucks and bins with the new contract that would be seven years with a 5-year option to renew.
The service is only for solid waste pickup and yard debris, but not recycling since that is already a county contract included in the property owner’s tax bill.
The new rates are anywhere from $19 per month to $42, based on whether it’s a Subscription or Universal option and the number of times solid waste is collected per week.
Waste Management says they have 98 contracts throughout Florida, and only 9 are Subscription services.
Last summer, Waste Management increased the cost of trash collection by 15 percent, citing higher company-wide costs due to inflation.
But some residents disagree.
Sebastian resident Mike Zappala said Waste Management talks about inflation hurting the company, but their profits continue to rise. He says the new price increases will affect everyone retired or on fixed incomes.
“Our incomes aren’t going up. Most everybody in this room is retired like me,” said Zappala. “And now they want to go from $43 a quarter to $42 a month?”
Resident Sherrie Matthews said residents have established a level of service and an expectation regardless of price. She says Waste Management missed many trash pickups in her neighborhood or didn’t show up when scheduled. And now, they want more money for a service that’s been inconsistent.
“All we want is the service that we’re paying for,” said Matthews. “I’m asking, on behalf of all of us, to pay attention and to look into these things.”
About 17 percent of residents are currently shut off for non-payment.
Trash Collection Rates
Waste Management offers a few new options based on the weekly number of solid waste collections. And, depending on whether it’s Subscription or Universal.
Here’s a summary of some of the pricing models.
The Subscription option is what the city has today, and most part-time residents prefer it because they can start and stop their service anytime. But it will soon be the more expensive option. For example, Waste Management will raise the current $14 monthly service to $42 for twice-a-week pickup. However, a once-per-week collection rate for this option is $27.
The Universal option is less expensive and lets everyone in Sebastian have trash collection services, which would raise the $14 monthly service to $29 for twice-per-week pickup.
The cost could also be less expensive if residents choose trash collection once per week instead of twice. For example, if the city decides on the Universal option of once per week, the monthly collection rate is only $19.
The only other option is for residents to take their trash to the local convenience center or landfill.
If the Sebastian City Council chooses the once-a-week option, residents can put two bins out for pickup, but the second one will have a one-time fee of $85. However, the cost for a second bin is no cost under the Universal option.
The city council will use the feedback from residents from the workshop to decide whether to go with the Subscription or the Universal option and the number of days for pickup.
The vote by the council will be on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 6 p.m. at City Hall. However, Council Member Ed Dodd stated he might not be ready to vote, citing he needs more information from Waste Management.