Commissioners unanimously agreed last week to send a formal notice to Waste Pro.

 

County commissioners are tired of the talk.

Commissioners unanimously agreed last week to send a formal notice to Waste Pro, its waste management vendor, concerning a series of shortfalls in service.

Coming less than a week after county staff and Waste Pro officials met to discuss the ongoing issues, commissioners said they’d heard quite enough talking.

“I feel like all we get is lip service,” said Commissioner Phil McCroan. “I’m tired of it.”

The board charged county attorney Jeremy Novak to draft a formal written notice of the service problems, which if not remedied, could result in the county fining the company.

Novak said the contract has language by which the county could seek to collect fines from the company for various non-performance issues.

Commissioner Ward McDaniel sparked the discussion by raising the issue of a constituent new to the county who had gone weeks without a waste receptacle being delivered despite numerous requests.

Quickly, though, the discussion spread to cover such ongoing problems as badly-leaking trucks, which McDaniel said, “Leave behind more than they pick up.”

Additionally, routes are not being completed or are missed altogether and basic customer service falls short.

Some of the problems, particularly leaking trucks and missed stops, have plagued Waste Pro since it assumed the county’s business more than three years ago.

“They have quality control issues,” said deputy county administrator Michael Hammond.

Hammond said some of the blame lies in the company’s not having a contact person on the ground in Gulf County, as had been the case until this year.

“People call and I think they feel like they won’t get an answer or messages are not returned,” he added.

The contract with Waste Pro has been a problem from the outset.

It was rewarded to Waste Pro with some controversy over the process, with Waste Management, the county’s former vendor, protesting, at least informally, the way the contract was let.

The county ultimately collected fines from Waste Pro for failure to perform some components of the contract, such as creation of a transfer station and paved road heading to the transfer station within a certain time frame.

At the time the contract was awarded the transfer station and road were cited by commissioners as key reasons for awarding the contract to Waste Pro.

The transfer station and road were referred to as essentials as the county was going out of the landfill business with the closing of Five Points landfill.

The transfer station, while delayed by state permitting issues, was not established until over a year after an agreed-upon deadline.

Former commissioner Joanna Bryan argued several times the board should find the company in breach and rebid the contract.

The road was paved just this year.

The problems with service, particularly missed or incomplete routes and leaking trucks, have also been ongoing.

The issues have spanned all five county districts and commissioners, past and present, have frequently returned to the problems during meetings.

“Maybe we need to put some fire” to the discussions with Waste Pro, County Commissioner Sandy Quinn, Jr., said in voting in favor of a formal notice.