PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — In a matter of days, Waste Pro’s contract with the City of Port St. Lucie will end, closing the chapter on a frustrating time for customers who long battled weeks-long delays in their trash pickup.
But the frustrations surrounding Waste Pro are lasting into the company’s final days in the city.
Up to 50 customers have complained to the city this week, saying they received a “past due” notice in the mail from Waste Pro.
According to a statement from the City:
These letters state that Waste Pro was preparing to turn these customers’ accounts over to a collection agency due to lack of payment for solid waste service. City staff investigated several of these notices on behalf of citizens. They found that more than half of the accounts they researched had already been paid, and those customers should not have received this notice.”
Most residents' Waste Pro bill is paid through an annual assessment which goes on their tax bill. The very narrow exception is when a resident purchases a NEWLY CONSTRUCTED home. This is because that address was not reported to the Tax Collector as a residential dwelling for that tax year. Waste Pro has the right to invoice the new homeowner, but only for a pro-rata amount based upon how many months remain until the new tax year. When the new tax year arrives, the address will be included in the annual Assessment collected by the Tax Collector.
The City is encouraging everyone who receives these notices to call 1PSL at 772-871-1775. The City’s Finance Department will help determine if the notice is accurate or if the resident has already paid the amount Waste Pro claims is owed.
In a statement, Waste Pro told WPTV that non-collection letters were sent out erroneously to some customers because of a technology error with its billing system that was not caught until after the notices were in the distribution process. “Please disregard these non-collection notices,” Waste Pro said.
“We thank residents for their patience because we know it’s been tough,” said Director of Neighborhood Services, Carmen Capezzuto.
He said the city’s new solid waste service provider, FCC Environmental Services, takes over Monday but has already started helping the city get its trash, recycling, and yard waste services back on track.
“There’s lots going on this week in preparation for the new automated system that starts on Monday,” Capezzuto said.
He said all residents should now know their new service day.
Thursday, he said about 95% of residents have their new garbage carts.
“This is a major overhaul. This is unlike anything most municipalities have tried to do. We’ve done in six months what typically takes 12 to 18,” Capezzuto said.
Eighty-one thousand homes and thousands of businesses, he hopes, will notice a seamless transition.
“And seamless to us means by Friday the 9th everybody has had their pickup on their service day and everything’s off the ground and we’ll just be into that cycle from here on out, that’s the goal.”