City might farm out garbage pickup
Madeira Beach rejected a pay request. Now it might ditch the solid-waste department altogether.
By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published October 30, 2005
MADEIRA BEACH - City-operated garbage collection could be a thing of the past if a proposal to be considered by the commission Tuesday is eventually adopted.
Commissioners will discuss closing the city's solid-waste department.
The result for residents may be a reduced level of service - and cheaper rates.
For nine mostly long-term employees, it would mean they would be out of jobs.
The action comes sharply on the heels of a commission decision to reject an employee union request for higher pay increases.
"Morale is low," said Mike Maxemow, community services director. "Some of these people have been with us for over 20 years."
If the city's solid-waste department were to be shut down, Madeira Beach would contract for garbage pickup with a commercial provider. It is not known whether that provider would provide jobs for the city's current employees. City equipment, including four garbage trucks, would have to be sold.
The city's garbage collection service is unique because of the level of service provided residents, Maxemow said. Madeira Beach offers both side and back door garbage pickup twice a week. Brush and yard waste pickup is offered weekly.
"We pick up everything. Our service is excellent and we have had no complaints," Maxemow said. "The people don't mind paying for good service."
Residents and businesses in other communities often pay less for garbage service than Madeira Beach charges, according to a memo prepared by City Manager Jill Silverboard. Those services are not necessarily the same, though.
Residents currently pay $19 a month for garbage service. By comparison, Redington Shores charges $14.67 for curb and side-yard pickup. Belleair charges $26.25 a month for rear-yard pickup. The curbside-only service offered in Gulfport costs $17.85 a month.
Maxemow questioned who would clean up the city's beaches during Red Tide outbreaks.
Some of those issues will be debated during a commission workshop that begins at noon Tuesday.
The issue was first broached during summer budget meetings. Now it is being pushed by several commissioners.
"Since the budget was finalized, I have had individual conversations with Vice Mayor (Martha) Boos, Commissioner (Art) Thomas, and most recently, Mayor (Charles) Parker," Silverboard's memo said. "There is clearly a majority interest in moving forward at this time.
"We will also have to address what happens to the city's existing employees, billing, and the disposition of equipment and assets."
[Last modified October 30, 2005, 01:13:18]
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