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St. Petersburg homeowners have trouble getting refunds for curbside recycling

ST. PETERSBURG — Homeowners are reporting problems when trying to get refunds from the company that formerly provided curbside recycling services for 7,200 customers.

Residents have called the Tampa Bay Times to complain that Waste Services of Florida will not mail refunds to homeowners who paid a $33 annual charge at the beginning of the year. The company owes homeowners for the final three months of the year after it stopped service on Sept. 30.

Waste Services is telling residents to pick up the money at its Clearwater office, customers say. The office is at 11500 43rd St. N.

The refund would be about $8.25 per customer.

Telephone operators at Waste Services of Florida hung up several times on a newspaper reporter who called to ask how refunds are being distributed. Operators would not provide the names of company managers.

When asked Tuesday about the refund issue, Mike Connors, the city's public works administrator, said "I am working with Waste Services to get this resolved so people don't have to go to Clearwater."

Roughly 7,200 homes out of 76,290 used the service with Waste Services. The contract lagged far below expectations despite the initial public clamor when the service started in 2010.

Even the company picked to replace Waste Services has had problems with its service.

Many homeowners called the newspaper about bins not being picked up or new ones not being dropped off. The homeowners called the newspaper because they said they couldn't get answers from City Hall.

St. Petersburg is paying $72,000 a year to subsidize service with Waste Pro.

The City Council voted in July to enter into a three-year contract with Waste Pro, which would keep a voluntary curbside program in the city through 2015.

Council Chairwoman Leslie Curran described the recycling program as a "whole mess" after residents complained about bins not being picked up.

"There's a lot of confusion out there," she said.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

St. Petersburg homeowners have trouble getting refunds for curbside recycling 10/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 5:54pm]
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