By Mary Thurwachter
The annual cost of garbage collection in Lantana is jumping from $700,000 to almost a million dollars.
The Town Council last month approved a contract with Republic Services Inc., the same company that has handled the town’s garbage pickup for five years.
“The total annual increased cost is $270,700,” said Town Manager Deborah Manzo. “Monthly rate for curbside would increase from $20.01 to $26.60 and containerized service would increase from $11.49 to $17.16.”
The service will be pretty much the same as what the town has been receiving, but “Republic Services will be providing new [garbage cans] for curbside service,” she said. After five years, the town would own the containers.
Council member Phil Aridas said garbage cans tend to be ugly and he wants the new ones to be camo colored. “It’s patriotic,” he said. “I think it would really look cool and would be a neat thing for the town and show respect for our servicemen.” Joanne Stanley, the local representative for Republic Services, said she would look into the camo request but made no promises. “In my 25 years, I’ve never seen a camo container,” she said.
Mayor Dave Stewart wanted to know why the costs were soaring.
“Your residents are requiring good service, and so in order to provide those resources for you, we have to make sure we have enough money to do that,” said Stanley.
Manzo said that when Republic began working with the town five years ago, the firm didn’t have a full picture of what Lantana needed, since the town had been doing its own garbage collection previously. Republic was “having to pay an additional $30,000 to $40,000 every year and extra cost for disposals,” Manzo said.
Bryant Thornton, director of operations for Republic, said equipment is very expensive, as are operating costs and health care.
“We value your partnership and our relationship with the council, but these costs are significant for us,” Thornton said.
The town made it clear it values the partnership, and council members had praise for Stanley’s work ethic and availability when they have questions or concerns. But the mayor wondered if the new contract, with a promise of improved service, would make a difference in terms of the complaints he receives.
“So, this will eliminate the 6 a.m. calls I’m getting while sitting on my porch about the recycle bins and the glass on the road, and the coconuts that didn’t get picked up?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” Stanley answered.
The five-year contract goes into effect at the end of May. In other action, the council approved plans for renovations to the McDonald’s restaurant at 1450 W. Lantana Road. A second drive-through lane, new landscaping and changes in the signage are included in the plan.