Friday, October 1, 2010


I am trying really hard to get this right as the outsourcing of our garbage pickup is a complicated issue and I have more questions than answers.

On September 28, 2010, the commission voted 4-1 to outsource the twice weekly trash pickup to Waste Management Services, a nationwide Fortune 200 company. This will eliminate side yard pickup and mean that residents will have to take the garbage to the curb for collection. It will also mean five employee layoffs.

It is touted as saving $500,000 per year with minimal disruption to North Bay Village.

First about the layoffs. As I understand it, the five current employees will be laid off from their positions. The two most senior employees will have the option of returning to the city maintenance crew, which would result in two layoffs there. The three remaining will be hired by Waste Management Systems and most likely work in North Bay Village. So in terms of city jobs saved, the number will net to five.

About the curbside pickups. We will get 94 gallon cans similar to the recycling bins and will bring them to the curb for pickup twice a week at the single family homes. Those who are not able to do so owing to physical limitations will let the city know and the city will arrange side yard pickup for them.

Where I am stuck is the $500,000 savings. I don't see a linear summary of the savings. We will be paying Waste Management Systems for the service, and while we are eliminating the cost of running our own garbage pickup, it is not clear to me how this nets out.

I intend to get a more specific answer on this and will post it.

As regards the discussion from the dais on Tuesday, it was disappointing that there was so much discussion but so little clarity. I would have expected the commissioners and the mayor to get very specific on where the savings are, how they are realized and the effects of selling our capital equipment (two garbage trucks) on the planned savings.

Commissioners Kane, Trujillo or Vogel do not discuss any issues in public. The deals are made long before the resolution reaches the floor and they vote in lockstep, but Alfonso's support is confusing. The mayor spent a good deal of time moderating and facilitating the discussion but never brought in the key questions of exactly how much, from where and how reliable is the $500,000 estimate. Then he voted in favor of the contract.

Something's not right here.

Kevin Vericker
October 1, 2010

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