Trash complaints continue

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 22, 2019 5:53 a.m.

Over recent weeks Fernandina Beach residents have been noticing a marked decline in the quality of trash removal that they receive from Advanced Disposal, the city’s trash hauler.  City Maintenance Manager Jeremiah Glisson has met with company officials on performance issues and stated the city’s desire for immediate improvement.  Glisson reports many complaints from the community in March on:

  • Frequently missed streets and missed pick ups for garbage, recycling, bulk and yard debris;
  • Unreasonable telephone hold times, sometimes over an hour;
  • Inconsistency in the bulk route, part of the new contract;
  • A social media presence that does not appear to be regularly updated to explain problems the hauler might be experiencing.

These service problems have resulted in more work for city staff, who need to handle problems when the contractor appears unresponsive.

During the April 16, 2019 Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting, it was revealed that Advanced Disposal was recently bought out by Waste Management for $2.9 billion.  

City Manager Dale Martin reported that he, Commissioner Phil Chapman, and Glisson had met with representatives of Advanced Disposal ten days ago about these concerns, but that the situation does not seem to have improved.  He has scheduled a follow up meeting.

“It will be intriguing to see what effect the recent acquisition will have in reducing the level of complaints directed at a company that has already been providing trash services to the city for over a decade,”  Martin said.

Vice Mayor Len Kreger sounded a note of caution on the takeover by Waste Management, a firm he described as “a heavy hitter in the Legislature.”  He said that positions that Waste Management has taken with respect to activities such as recycling are not necessarily in the city’s best interest.  He did acknowledge, however, that the city contract with Advanced Disposal would remain in effect following the takeover.

Martin informed commissioners that the city will have a formal discussion with its waste hauler to review the first 90 days under the new contract.  Expectations for meeting contract obligations will be stressed to Waste Management.

The FBCC went on to unanimously approve a $38,343 budget amendment to provide solid waste removal and clean-up services for the 2019 Shrimp Festival the first weekend in May.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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3 Responses to Trash complaints continue

  1. Suanne Thamm says:

    City Manager Dale Martin provided the following update to this article today:

    “I did have a lengthy conversation with Mr. Greg Huntington of Advanced Disposal on Thursday evening. I relayed the fact that every City Commissioner publicly voiced frustration at the most recent City Commission meeting regarding garbage, recycling, and yard waste collection. I reiterated that although Advanced Disposal Services has had the contract for solid waste removal for many years and that the issues have surprisingly increased over the course of the last three months.

    “I also spoke with other Advanced Disposal officials this morning who were at City Hall as part of preparation for Shrimp Fest. I again shared the community frustration. I expect that Advanced Disposal officials will be at the next City Commission meeting to address and resolve the problems.”

  2. Frank Quigley says:

    “When in doubt, bid it out.” To keep them honest. Here’s hoping our contract with Advanced Disposal has a change-in-control protection clause. Although we won’t be surprised if it does not.

    • Dave Lott says:

      City just went through the bidding process last year with Advanced Disposal having the best bid by a long shot.

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