Following several votes, and demand a the county’s waste management plan
The initial vote of the commissioners to disapprove a fee hike for the Florida county was driven by general discontent over the absence of a comprehensive plan for solid waste by the city’s mayor.
The Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management faces the prospect of a budget deficit after raising its fees three times in the last 10 years. The information is taken from the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management.
In the wake of its vote following its initial vote, it was decided that the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners returned to the question of fee increases and approved two additional increases at their September. 6-meeting. The first of these, which was to raise cost by $116, also fell short. Another plan to raise fees by 38%, and to provide additional funds for other waste-related measures, was approved. County Board Chair Oliver Gilbert III approved the proposal that was voted on.
Sept. 7 7 and a 7-6 majority, members of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners rejected a proposal for a increase in the fee for solid waste on Wednesday. It would have taken effect in October. 1 and would have filled in an estimated $40 million budget gap.
The vote was taken during a meeting which included public testimony as well as discussion between board members on the current county’s Solid Waste System. Commissioners called on the mayor’s office to develop an extensive solid waste plan to allow them to make longer-term decisions instead of an “piecemeal approach,” as Commissioner Raquel Regalado explained the fee vote during the meeting.
The board also pushed back an approval vote on the mayor’s decision to select the preferred location for a new mass burning incinerator to an September. 19th meeting. County Board Chair Oliver Gilbert III declared that he wants to have a discussion of the fee as well as an overall solid waste strategy “on and through and off this dais” before the end of that meeting.
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The department’s financial difficulties were made even more acute in the spring of this year, when a facility for waste-to-energy that is owned by Covanta, the county’s management company, Covanta was mostly destroyed in the fire that ravaged the area. Rebuilding the capacity of that facility is likely to be expensive and is only partially funded with insurance funds, which need to be claimed within a limited time.
To make matters worse the county has intermittently raised the fee for residents’ disposal in recent years, requiring the board to find funds elsewhere within the budget to pay for the rising cost of labor, gas, and the equipment used for its recycling and waste facilities, Gilbert said at the meeting.
“When you don’t see these increase in the system, you can tell that we’re coming up with innovative ways to reduce the cost. There is no time to waste on this,” Gilbert said. “What I would prefer is that we have actual solutions that actually solve it and not have us talk about the same thing next year.”
The current cost for residents is $509 per year for waste services. the increase in fees that Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava suggested would add an additional 36 dollars. However, Gilbert pointed out that the proposed increase will not be enough to pay for the gap in the Department of Solid Waste Management’s budget.
Commissioners suggested a variety of solutions to the shortfall. The department is looking into implementing plans to provide municipal waste service to facilities in the county and earning money from the waste fees that are paid by firehouses, libraries, and other. The interim director, Olga Espinosa Anderson, told the county’s council on Wednesday morning that she placed an order for new equipment to support the initiative, but that it would not be available until 2025.
Regalado, who is chairman of the county board’s committee on infrastructure also said it has reduced recycling contamination by 10 percent since it started an education campaign earlier in the year. If the county can improve its pollution rate, it could renegotiate the recycling agreements and may even be willing to accept a lower rate in accordance with Regalado.