Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg takes fresh look at doing its own recycling service

Mayor Rick Kriseman will revisit a discarded notion.

Mayor Rick Kriseman will revisit a discarded notion.

ST. PETERSBURG — As debate continues to swirl over how to best provide curbside recycling to residents, officials have long asserted it would be too expensive for city workers provide the service.

Mayor Rick Kriseman has asked them to take another look.

"The potential to perform this in-house is now back on the table," Mike Connors, the city's public works director, told the council Thursday.

The city will still solicit bids from private vendors for its new universal curbside recycling program, but will simultaneously explore using city resources instead.

Administrators have consistently cited cost as a reason not to do so. In February, Connors said it would cost $12 million in equipment alone if the city provided the service.

And just a few weeks ago, city spokesman Ben Kirby confirmed that the administration still planned to use an outside contractor because of cost.

So why the pivot?

"As the process went forward, the mayor did a little research on his own and asked Mike Connors to take another look," Kirby said Thursday.

Kriseman looked at other cities, like Savannah, which does its own recycling, he said.

The mayor also wants staffers to look at whether costs would be lower if the city did twice-a-month pickup instead of weekly, Kirby said.

Last month, during a public budget summit, several sanitation workers came forward to ask why city officials assumed they could not handle the job.

Kirby could not say if the workers' pleas factored into the mayor's request.

"The mayor did what he does, which is dig in on an issue and do more research," Kirby said. "He just asked — is it feasible? The mayor at least would like to know why."

Council member Darden Rice, who pushed for universal curbside recycling long before she took office, said she was glad to hear the city was considering its own workers for the job.

"The key thing is to keep our eyes on the ball and keep moving forward," she said Thursday. "Frankly I've been a little skeptical of the numbers that showed that we wouldn't be able to do it in-house."

Council member Steve Kornell said he feels like previous administrations never had the will to do recycling.

He also was happy to hear of the second look.

"I always thought our workers could do it," he said.

The first bid, posted Thursday to the city's website and due July 10, is for processing and marketing of single-stream, collected recyclable material. A second bid, for the actual collection contract, will go out later.

The city may need to rely on an outside company, even if it's just for things like sorting, Kirby said.

If St. Petersburg opts to provide the service itself, it wouldn't be alone.

Clearwater's Solid Waste Department handles once-a-week single-stream recycling citywide. The program costs $2.9 million, and 22 employees are budgeted for the service, which also is offered to multifamily complexes and businesses.

Since switching to larger single-stream recycling barrels in October, Clearwater has seen a large decrease in trash and an increase in recycled materials. Because of that, the city is considering reducing trash pickup to once a week, said Joelle Castelli, a Clearwater spokeswoman.

Times staff writer Charlie Frago contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow on Twitter @cornandpotatoes.

St. Petersburg takes fresh look at doing its own recycling service 06/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deandre Gilmore guilty, but not of murder, jury decides

    Criminal

    TAMPA — The actions of Deandre Gilmore caused the death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter in 2014, but a Hillsborough County jury decided Friday it was manslaughter, not murder.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing Myla Presley the 19 month-old daughter of his then girlfriend Nayashia Williams while Gilmore was giving her a bath.
  2. Bucs-Bills: Things to watch in Sunday's 1 p.m. game

    Bucs

    FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs past Atlanta Falcons' De'Vondre Campbell (59) and Deion Jones (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Atlanta. The Bills play against the Buccaneers in Buffalo on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NY182
  3. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills

    Bucs

    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) watches a replay while sitting out with an injury during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. What to watch this weekend: 'The Walking Dead,' Stephen King's '1922'

    Blogs

    100 episodes of walkers: The Walking Dead

    Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.
  5. Editorial: GOP failing to protect health care for Florida kids

    Editorials

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program. There is a disconnect that threatens health coverage for about 215,000 …

    In Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is considering how to make it easier for low-income families to apply for subsidized health insurance for their children. In Washington, Congress cannot even agree on how to keep paying for the popular program.