Saturday, October 20, 2018
News Roundup

Largo considers rate hike for trash, recycling

LARGO — Residents may see the first trash and recycling rate hike in more than a decade next year as the city faces changes in the global recycling landscape and rising costs.

The potential 20 percent increase, which would bring the rate for residential customers from $17.65 to $21.18 a month, came up this month during a City Commission meeting to discuss the city’s five-year financial projections. City officials also discussed challenges for the city’s golf course, lessons learned from Hurricane Irma and long-term infrastructure projects.

The trash and recycling rate hike is in part due to changes in the recycling industry. Much of processed recyclable material in the U.S., including from Largo, is exported to China, said Brian Usher, public works director. However, Chinese officials have upped the standard of what they’re willing to accept, leaving fewer places to send the material.

"There’s this giant ripple effect that goes down the line," Usher said.

Largo is under contract with a waste management service that allows the city to get some money back per ton of recyclables, Usher said. But that agreement expires in February 2019, compounding the problem. City officials are projecting the changes could result in a fiscal U-turn: $300,000 in recycling revenue flipping to a $350,000 expense.

Usher said his department is working on options to bring to city commissioners to handle the transition. He added that the solid waste rate has not increased since 2007 as costs for fuel, manpower and disposal have risen.

"We’ve stretched it as long as we can," he said.

The city is also planning to set aside money in the solid waste fund for debris removal, a takeaway from Hurricane Irma’s long, expensive cleanup process. Usher said he’s still tallying up the bill, but he expects it to surpass $1 million.

Another area facing challenges is the city’s golf course. As popularity in the sport declines, the course is expected to start operating at a loss in the 2020 fiscal year. The city is planning to analyze the situation and come up with options, said City Manager Henry Schubert.

That could include contracting with an operator to run the course, shutting down the course and using the land for something else, or selling the property.

"We think it’s important to just start looking at that," Schubert said.

Officials also plan to address the long-term future of several city buildings in need of repair, including reconstruction of fire stations 38, 39 and 42; replacement of a building at the Bayhead Complex and Action Park, which is home to summer camps and restrooms for park visitors; and replacement of the Southwest Recreation Complex.

Contact Kathryn Varn at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

Comments
Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

TAMPA — A homicide victim found lying alongside Dale Mabry Highway and Busch Boulevard on Friday afternoon has been identified as Michael Andrew Montalbano, 34, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.Investigators said only that Montalb...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

TARPON SPRINGS — A Spring Hill teen has been arrested in the stabbing of another teen during a robbery attempt outside a gym where the victim worked.Dedson Hallon Suas, 17, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and attempte...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays tales: Why Rocco Baldelli is a hot candidate for manager openings

Rays tales: Why Rocco Baldelli is a hot candidate for manager openings

ST. PETERSBURG — Rocco Baldelli has sure been popular this off-season.And busy.The current Rays coach and former outfielder interviewed with five of the six teams looking to hire a manager — the Angels, Blue Jays, Rangers, Reds and Twins....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide: The Bucs are the Browns and the Browns are the Bucs

Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide: The Bucs are the Browns and the Browns are the Bucs

It was always this game.Not the Saints. Not the Eagles. Not the Steelers.The Browns.When the NFL released the Bucs’ schedule in April, the Browns were an afterthought. The first three games were the main attraction. If Tampa Bay could survive t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

ST. PETERSBURG — A drunk driver collided with 11 vehicles along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 275 before he was arrested as he was stopped in traffic after exiting into downtown, the Florida Highway Patrol said.No one one was injured in th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mega Millions jackpot explodes to record $1.6 billion after no winner in latest drawing

Mega Millions jackpot explodes to record $1.6 billion after no winner in latest drawing

Yes, that headline is correct: The Mega Millions jackpot is at $1.6 billion. With a B.All eyes were on the latest drawing Friday night, when the jackpot was at an already mind-boggling $1 billion. However, with no ticket matching all six numbers draw...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Romano: Has ‘stand your ground’ made Florida more tolerant of deadly force?

Romano: Has ‘stand your ground’ made Florida more tolerant of deadly force?

In another era, in another state, the video might be too unsettling to watch. A suspected shoplifter is looking for a way to slip past a Lakeland store owner who is holding a gun. The shoplifter gets one hand on the door at the same time the store o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
District volleyball: Battle-tested Calvary Christian ready for region run

District volleyball: Battle-tested Calvary Christian ready for region run

TAMPA — Calvary Christian’s volleyball team looks tough, tested and ready for a strong run at a Class 4A state title.For proof, look no farther than the past two days when the Warriors defeated a tough Tampa Prep squad in three games, then followed F...
Published: 10/20/18
Lakeland commissioner charged with murder in shooting of suspected shoplifter

Lakeland commissioner charged with murder in shooting of suspected shoplifter

LAKELAND — A Lakeland city commissioner surrendered Friday to face a second-degree murder charge in the Oct. 3 fatal shooting of a suspected shoplifter at a military surplus store.Michael Dunn, who has served on the City Commission since January, arr...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic,

Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic," Adam Putnam says.

Hurricane Michael’s enduring legacy could include long-term damage to Florida’s timber industry. While experts try to get a handle on the carnage, state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that preliminary estimates peg it ...
Updated: 5 hours ago