How Riviera Beach's city waste management contract, community benefit funds are spent

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- The Palm Beach County Inspector General's Office has opened a case to look into Riviera Beach's city waste management contract and its community benefits fund.

For month's, NewsChannel 5 has been researching how these funds are spent in Riviera Beach.

Through the city's contract with Waste Management Inc., $15,000 for each city council member can be used for programs and improvement projects within this city.

In 2011, the city entered a five year contract with Waste Management Inc, paying the company millions to take care of garbage within the city.

Part of that deal is a $90,000 fund set aside for projects to make the community better.

Programs like Robert Felder's J.A.Y. Outreach Ministries on S Avenue have benefited from the program.

The $500 J.A.Y. received earmarked by councilwoman Billie Brooks helps the ministry's senior citizen program and takes troubled youths off the streets.

"So they don't have to go out there and sell drugs and do the things they doing. So that's what we're concerned about. It's not about, when the money comes to J.A.Y., it don't go to me or my son, it goes back into the community to help make a difference," said Felder.

Others earmarks went to things like a youth football team, the jazz after dark program and a yet-to-be built half-dog, half-human drinking fountain on AIA.

When the city of Riviera Beach put its garbage contract out for bid in 2010, Waste Management INC's bid was rated fourth out of four by a committee advising the city council.

Months later, after those rankings were challenged by companies included in the bidding process, city council went against the committee's initial recommendation and picked Waste Management INC.

A feature of the winning bid: Tens of thousands of dollars more in community improvement  dollars than the company initially ranked number one.

The Palm Beach County Inspector General's Office can't comment on this open case but will only say it's not a full-fledged investigation at this point.

Riviera Beach City Manager Ruth Jones said the Inspector General's Office hasn't notified her of any action yet.

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