San Angelo's City Council talked trash this week. Citizens learned Republic Services curbside recycling will start in July. Consider the company's contractual commitment from a July 2, 2014 newspaper article.
Republic has nine months to implement the recycling program, which will include public education. Recyclable materials include paper products, plastic containers, steel, tin and aluminum. Glass will be accepted once Republic constructs a materials recovery facility in the area.
A mid-July start is three and a half months past Republic's promise to recycle by the end of March. The city's website stated:
The San Angelo City Council on July 1, 2014, approved solid waste contracts that will result in new curbside recycling and bulk trash pickup services
Recycling will start over a year after the City approved the deal.
The glass situation also changed. Republic contracted with Butts Recycling for the materials recovery facility. The equipment they're installing does not handle glass. Part of the delay involved Planning Commission approval for Butts' expanded facility. This included a waiver for their street, which is unpaved.
This is surprising San Angelo, where a few steps forward come with a few steps back, usually in management and communications. Nothing's perfect but corporate promises and contractual agreements are legal commitments.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Grindstaff spoke directly to Republic's failures in implementation. Public comment produced information that Republic and Butts began working in earnest on recycling in October of last year.
Councilwoman Grindstaff said she would've preferred if this happened in August. It did not because Republic needed to settle a decade of charging commercial customers unapproved fees.
Republic Services will begin issuing refund checks to San Angelo commercial and industrial customers in October — in excess of $6 million.Just as commercial customers paid ghost fees for a decade, San Angelo citizens paid higher rates for the elusive promise of curbside recycling. Both the city and the company created the nine month expectation. How will they make citizens whole for fees paid for service not provided? It's disturbing pattern with the City and its trash contractor..
“Republic is voluntarily refunding certain fees paid by affected commercial and industrial customers in San Angelo, going back to Aug. 1, 2004,” the release stated. “This 10-year period covers the full term of Republic’s prior contract with the city.”
On August 1, 2015 trash fees will go up 2.9%. Citizens have paid $15.12 a month for a level of service not provided. That fee will rise to $15.56 just as the overdue service comes on line. What service recovery will Republic undertake for their recycling delays? What action might the City, consider, with its designated employee focusing on contract compliance?