Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County not likely to give St. Petersburg money for recycling service

ST. PETERSBURG — Since Pinellas County oversees solid waste services, City Council members recently wondered whether the county would help pay for the city's new universal curbside recycling service.

That isn't likely to happen.

"The economic climate has changed significantly," Pinellas Commissioner Ken Welch said Tuesday. "The millions of dollars are not in the budget."

"I'm not opposed to it, but I'd have to see more details," said Commissioner Charlie Justice. "We are in a tight budget year."

Some county recycling money — not enough to fund the universal program — has been flowing to the city since 2005. The county splits $500,000 annually among Pinellas cities, and St. Petersburg gets the biggest share, $191,000, based on its size.

St. Petersburg is allowed to use the money to pay for programs like public outreach, its dropoff recycling centers or to buy items such as park benches made from recycled materials, said Pinellas solid waste director Bob Hauser.

However, it's unclear how the city has been using that money. Mike Connors, the city's public works administrator, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Pinellas Commissioner Susan Latvala said she would not be inclined to give St. Petersburg any more money, noting that the county must keep reserves to repair and maintain its waste-to-energy processing plant.

After years of political debate, the City Council voted unanimously Feb. 19 to start the universal curbside program. At the meeting, council member Jim Kennedy questioned whether the county would contribute to start the universal service for 76,000 homeowners.

St. Petersburg missed its chance for the money in the boom years.

About 2007, Pinellas County offered to pay $10 million to start a countywide recycling program. But former Mayor Rick Baker preferred that residents use the dropoff centers. The offer was a standing one until County Administrator Bob LaSala recommended several years ago to withdraw it, Welch added Tuesday.

St. Petersburg will seek bids from private haulers to collect and process the recyclables. City staffers estimated that it would cost about $12 million for equipment for city sanitation crews to do the work.

Council member Karl Nurse, who wants the city to provide the service, isn't hopeful that the county would shift the money, adding: "To me, the logical thing would be to help us on a one-time capital cost."

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter @markpuente.

Pinellas County not likely to give St. Petersburg money for recycling service 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  2. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  3. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  4. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.
  5. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.