Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 30, 2020
This summer the City of Fernandina Beach asked its citizens to complete an online Monkey Survey indicating customer level of satisfaction with residential waste removal services provided by Advanced Disposal. The survey was conducted during three weeks between July 31 – August 21, 2020.
Of the 611 survey respondents, 94.11 percent were full time residents. A combined 81.18 percent indicated that they were either satisfied (40.26%) or very satisfied (40.92%) with current service. The remaining respondents indicated they were dissatisfied (15.06%) or very dissatisfied (3.76%).
Respondents were very satisfied (51.06%) or satisfied (35.84%) with household garbage collection. Recycling service also received high marks with 88.87 % satisfied or very satisfied with residential service.
Satisfaction with bulk removal and yard waste removal dropped, although better than half of respondents remained satisfied or very satisfied. Unlike earlier questions, these questions were skipped by some, probably an indication that they did not use the services. The biggest number of dissatisfied (22.09%) or very dissatisfied (15.38%) residents were on the question of yard waste removal. This was not surprising, since both City Commissioners and residents have publicly voiced concerns over delayed yard waste removal at City Commission meetings.
Although the City’s practice has been to remove yard waste with a grapple claw truck, the current contract with Advanced Disposal requires that yard waste be bagged or bundled. For a variety of reasons and despite contract language to the contrary, Advanced Disposal has tried to continue the City’s past practice. However, that practice has resulted in delayed pick-ups and additional cost to the contractor, who no longer has a city yard to receive the waste.
The final question on the survey related to customers’ willingness to pay higher fees to continue current collection of yard waste with the grapple claw truck.
Jeremiah Glisson, City Maintenance Director for Fleet/Facilities/Sanitation, said that the results of the survey did not surprise City staff. He said, “The community feedback confirms both where operations need improvement and where operations are running smoothly. The biggest problem area pertains to yard debris. We will use our community feedback in our initial talks with Waste Management, and we are prepared to make contract adjustments if need be.”
Waste Management has taken over Advanced Disposal and will continue residential waste removal under the current contract, unless the City and the contractor modify the contract.