PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The city of Port St. Lucie is reaching out to its citizens to try and dispose of a growing trash problem.
The City Council Monday approved the creation of a Solid Waste Task Force that will meet each month for 18 months. Its goal will be to come up with solutions to improving city trash service.
For Stewart Holmes, Monday brought a nice surprise. His trash was picked up, albeit two days late.
"It’s the quality of life where you feel it. You get depressed, you walk out, see all the garbage and say what the hell is going on," said Holmes.
The management company that oversees Holmes’ community in St. Lucie West says the last several months have been trying.
"Since July First, we should have had 46 pickups between our two properties. 30-percent of those have been missed," said Hayley Lundy with Rich Properties.
Michael Hahn, the Solid Waste Manager for Port St. Lucie says garbage needs to come off the ground right away and citizens need another avenue to voice their opinions.
"The phone lines are just jammed. Every two days we get about two hundred calls," said Hahn.
Waste Pro, the trash-collection contractor, has gotten thousands of complaints in the past year.
They’ve subcontracted some work to get yard debris cleared, but have struggled to hire enough employees as the city continues to grow.
The city right now is redrafting its solid waste ordinance in terms of how much trash people can leave out. In City Hall, there is an example of how much space two cubic yards takes up. That could be a possible future weekly limit.
"We’ve got public works, code compliance, other departments pitching in to help collect the yard waste," said Hahn.
The inconsistent service led the council last week to take fines assessed against Waste Pro to cover a proposed cost increase to residents.