Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg Council approves recycling contracts

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council gave final approval on Monday night to a new ordinance and two multimillion-dollar contracts needed to launch its universal curbside recycling program.

During the next several months, the city will spend $4.1 million on new 95-gallon bins and a little more than $2 million on new trucks for the residential recycling pickup program, which will be rolled out next summer and cost residents $2.95 a month.

After years of discussion and months of recent delays, there's little chance of going back now.

"It's been a long journey," council member Karl Nurse said. "It's kind of cool to be here. … It's the beginning of a cultural shift."

St. Petersburg is one of the few big cities in Florida not to provide curbside recycling to its residents. Under the plan approved Monday, 80,000 single-family households will have their recyclables picked up once every other week.

Supporters filled council chambers Monday evening to hear the 7-0 vote (council member Steve Kornell was absent).

Cathy Harrelson, chairwoman of the St. Petersburg Sustainability Council, said this will start to build community awareness about waste.

"When you throw something away, it just doesn't go away," she said. "It goes somewhere."

Tim Martin of the People's Trash Campaign praised the city for deciding to do its recycling collection in-house with city sanitation workers. He and representatives of the League of Women Voters pledged to be partners with the city, saying they hope the program gets expanded to apartment complexes and commercial properties.

While people didn't dwell too much on the long road it took to get to this point, Monday night's vote wasn't without drama.

A representative of a company not awarded the contract for recycling bins told City Council members he could beat the $4.1 million price by $40,000, setting off a flurry of questions and consternation from city staffers.

Rhett Kelle, sales director for North Carolina-based Toter, claimed his company would provide better-designed and more sustainable bins.

City staffers scoffed.

Procurement director Louis Moore said Toter's proposal wasn't submitted to the city until Monday, well after the vetting process ended. Even then, Moore said, he looked at what it proposed and didn't think it met the city's needs.

"We have done our due diligence," Moore said. "Anybody can walk through that door and say we can beat that price."

Public Works Administrator Mike Connors said city staffers were highly uncomfortable with Toter's last-minute claims, which he called a "poor business practice."

"At the ninth hour to hear this type of offer is frankly inappropriate," he said.

With the approval now in place, the administration can move forward with the program, which Mayor Rick Kriseman identified as one of his main early goals for the city.

Council member Darden Rice, a longtime advocate of curbside recycling, asked that there be further discussion about the $350,000 set aside for marketing, communication and educating the public about the program. She said she wants more detail about how the money will be spent and her colleagues agreed.

"The citizens are going to be an important part in making this successful," she said. "I think our work has just begun."

In other news

Last spring, the City Council spent countless hours in tense meetings as it pondered setting aside $74,000 for a pilot program intended to be a model for the much-talked-about Agenda 2020 antipoverty plan.

On Monday, any lingering angst about the pilot was allayed as city staffers and facilitators declared the six-month effort a "fantastic" success. Nearly all of the 21 parents targeted in the program either moved out of poverty, got promotions or even started their own businesses, according to Randy Lewis of the Pinellas County Urban League.

Comments
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 3 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 4 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 5 hours ago