City residents pay more for sanitation services than the ECUA customers, and the gap will increase if Mayor Ashton Hayward recommends the increases proposed by Sanitation Services Director Jerry Moore.
Furthermore, ECUA officials dispute several of Moore’s statements to the council about why the Hayward administration failed to reach a recycling agreement with the utility.
Last week, Moore told the Pensacola City Council that a recent rate study recommends that the city raise its sanitation rate. He said, “We need a $1.26 rate increase on our operational side of our sanitation rate, just for everyday operations.”
He said the department also needs a process for replacing its aging equipment. The rate study recommended a $1 equipment surcharge be added immediately to the bills and an additional dollar in FY19.
Moore also told the City Council that he believed that ECUA had treated the City unfairly during the negotiations.
“If you talk to those counties (Santa Rosa and Okaloosa), they haven’t had a recyclable composition study, so I don’t know that they know what’s in their composition,” said Moore. “We were treated differently. We were told that we would have to pay $5 more per ton to have our recyclables processed.”
ECUA disputed several of Moore’s statements. Both Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties had composition studies that were used during negotiations to utilize the ECUA Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Copies of those studies and the City of Pensacola study were available for review, according to ECUA spokesperson Nathalie Bowers.
Moore informed the City Council that the ECUA wanted to charge the City $5 per ton more than other agencies to process the City’s recyclables, which Bowers said was an accurate statement.
“Under the terms of the standard agreement that ECUA is using for each of the agencies utilising the MRF, the ECUA would be responsible for disposal of non-recyclable materials (contamination), and the additional $5 per ton was intended to cover that cost, since the City of Pensacola’s recyclables contain significantly higher levels of contamination when compared to all of the other agencies that deliver recyclables to the ECUA MRF,” said Bowers. “According to page four of the City of Pensacola material composition study, the reject material in the City’s recyclables equals 22.1%. This is significantly higher than the 13.8% reported for Santa Rosa County and the 7.4% reported for Okaloosa County in those respective studies.”
However, the City had another option to the $5 surcharge.
“Under the terms of the standard contract that is used by the ECUA and that was discussed with Mr. Moore, the ECUA would either charge extra or pay a rebate to the City on a sliding scale, based on the average market value (AMV) of the recyclables being processed,” she told Inweekly. “Based on the February 2017 AMV of $105.78 per ton, the ECUA would actually have been required to pay the City a rebate of $5 per ton for every ton of recyclables delivered to the ECUA MRF, had the agreement been completed as proposed and in effect today.”
Pensacola residents are not allowed to recycle glass, while ECUA customers do. Moore told the council not recycling glass wasn’t that big of a deal.
“As a big picture, the glass contaminates paper and is the problem with it nationwide, and glass is continuing to be a problem in single-stream recycling everywhere,” said Moore.
According to Bowers, the ECUA MRF is specifically designed to sort and recycle glass and is successfully processing these materials and marketing the recycled paper and glass with no contaminated paper issues.
Bowers told Inweekly the ECUA sanitation rate is lower than is the City’s rate.
“The current City of Pensacola sanitation rate is $22.80 per month with an additional monthly fuel surcharge of $0.90 or a total monthly rate of $23.70,” she said. “The requested rate increase and proposed equipment surcharge would increase the City sanitation rate to $25.96 per month. For comparison, the current ECUA sanitation monthly rate is $21.33 per month.
Note: These disputed statements made by the Hayward administration to the Pensacola City Council last week are disturbing. At the Agenda Review, City Administrator Eric Olson told the Pensacola City Council that Escambia County had requested verbally the city hand over its portion on Escambia Wood Treating Company superfund site. County Administrator Jack Brown and several county commissioners have disputed that statement. Now we have ECUA correcting Moore’s report to the council.