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Trash rates may increase in Sebastian; residents voice concerns during workshops

'Anytime you get into a 200% price increase, it’s a load,' resident Ed Antz says
Garbage collection resumes in unincorporated Palm Beach County
Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 18:43:03-05

SEBASTIAN, Fla. — Residents in Sebastian could be in for some sticker shock when it’s time to take out the trash.

Only one company bid for the city’s new waste collection contract set to take effect this summer, and it’s asking for residents to pay up to triple what they’re paying now.

“I was a little shocked,” said Ed Antz Monday.

Waste Management is wrapping up a 10-year contract with the city of Sebastian.

Among its new proposals is one plan that would raise rates from about $14 a month to $42 a month.

“Workmanship they do that’s fine," Antz said. "Anytime you get into a 200% price increase, it’s a load.”

On Monday, the city held two workshops to get feedback from residents.

“Where’s the added expense of them going down a street they’re already going down?” said Mike Zappala.

Residents in fact just saw a bump in October from $12 to $14 a month.

There are several price points within Waste Management’s latest proposal, with future monthly rates ranging from $42 down to $19.

It depends on whether the city continues its subscription model, where residents sign up for service, or decides on a universal model, where everyone is mandated to pay for service and it becomes part of the tax bill.

“I don’t believe it’s responsible of this council to be forcing the citizens of Sebastian to have garbage pickup if they don’t want it,” resident Richard Lewis told the council.

A Waste Management spokeswoman said the proposed rate hikes reflect “fair market costs to provide the services the city requested, and the rate reflects the current state of the market impacted by inflation.”

“We just have to listen to our citizens and pick the best options based on the input form our community,” Mayor Fred Jones said.

Other cities have had to figure out their trash situations recently.

After months of problems, and thousands of complaints, Port St. Lucie brought on a new waste hauler, but with a 50% increase in rates and a 50% reduction in collections.

Antz said he is trying to look at the bright side.

“I’m from the north, so our waste up there was more expensive anyway,” he said.

After hearing from residents, the city council will make a final decision Wednesday night.