Recycling needs outside expertise
In April 2013 the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg (LWVSPA) and the Suncoast Sierra Club, along with our other partners in the People's Trash Coalition, kicked off a campaign to bring universal curbside recycling to St. Petersburg. The City Council supported our efforts via their unanimous vote in July 2013, requesting city staff to look into offering this service and to work with the coalition as it undertook council's request and prepared recommendations.
In February, city staff recommended implementing curbside recycling service to single-family households. With concerns expressed about multifamily households not being included in the proposal, City Council unanimously voted to proceed with the proposed implementation schedule. The mayor also voiced strong support to proceed and inferred that once single-family households were converted, the city would look into expanding the service.
So where are we now? The city defined its requirements in the Request for Proposals, but no vendors responded. This is a very embarrassing moment for St. Petersburg, considering all other major cities in Florida have curbside recycling, as well as numerous smaller communities in our surrounding area.
Having observed this process for 15 months, our first question is: why? We would like to hear from the vendors, but we also suggest that objective outside expertise is needed to review the process to date and make recommendations on how to proceed.
This is an opportune time to look at the whole project, and we would like to point out aspects of basic project management that have been missing from this process:
1. Establish, track and report (quarterly for the first year and semiannually in subsequent years) specific tonnage targets to address the primary goal of this project, which is to significantly increase St. Petersburg's recyclable waste.
2. Develop and manage action plans to ensure the over-arching goal and tonnage targets are met, and then share those plans with the public. The coalition has offered to assist with the associated marketing and education that will be required to meet these targets, as well as proper recycling methods to reduce contamination.
3. Conduct an overall economic analysis that delineates start-up capital costs, ongoing operational costs and anticipated revenue from selling recyclable waste based upon above projected tonnage targets. Include in the analysis a projected time frame for reducing garbage collection to weekly and its resulting cost reduction.
We have not seen documentation of any of the above and are concerned in their absence that this project will continue to drag on and not reach its full potential.
Yes, the nonresponse from vendors is a major setback, but let's use this time to work together and develop a strong, realistic plan that we can all agree to.
Julie Kessel, Lisa Hinton, Karen Coale, St. Petersburg
Re: Apartments rise as downtowns thrive | July 24
Pile-driver noise shakes neighbors
The new buildings in the downtowns of Tampa and St. Pete are a sign of real progress, but it comes with a cost.
I and my fellow residents across the street from the unnamed 17-story apartment building at 330 Third St. S in St. Petersburg are subjected to the continual pounding of two pile-drivers, six days a week, starting as early as 7:10 a.m. and going on until 5 p.m. This started in late May.
The constant pounding shakes our walls and frays our nerves. The end is in sight, according to the city building official, Rick Dunn. We can expect it to stop by Oct. 15! Only August, September and half of October left. And, according to Rick, the municipal codes allow for construction seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so I guess we are really lucky that the pounding isn't worse. The only things that appear to slow down the pile-drivers are lunch breaks and the threat of lighting. Pray for rain.
Paul W. Holland, St. Petersburg