BY BUDDY NEVINS
The county’s Resource Recovery Board on Thursday reversed itself and agreed to study breaking Waste Management multi-million dollar trash monopoly in Broward.
The study will examine whether it is cost effective to open the Southwest Broward landfill to all types of trash. It currently accepts construction debris, bulk and vegetative waste.
The idea is that the county-owned site would provide competition to Waste Management.
The board will spend approximately $100,000 for the study and Ron Greenstein, the Board’s executive director, hopes to have some results by June.
The Board vote was unanimous. It came just a day after Browardbeat.com post (below) on how the same Board last month had shut the door on competition for our trash dollars.
Chair Ilene Lieberman, who leads the board of city and county officials and was against doing the study, was absent from Thursday’s meeting.
The study was supported by solid waste professionals from city halls throughout Broward.
Last month with Lieberman holding the gavel, the Board voted 5-2 against the study.
On Thursday Greenstein along with Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler were outspoken in their belief that the county needed to at least examine an alternative to Waste Management.
See my earlier post below:
Most Americans agree: Competition is good and monopolies are bad.
Competition usually produces lower costs and innovation. Monopolies generate higher costs, waste and lethargy.
So why is an obscure county group intent on continuing Waste Managementâ€™s monopoly over Browardâ€™s trash disposal?
The countyâ€™s Resource Recovery Board late last month refused to study whether an already existing county-owned landfill in Southwest Broward could provide meaningful competition to Waste Management.
The vote effectively continues the monopoly that Waste Management has held over our garbage for more than two decades. That monopoly is why Broward has among the highest disposal rates in South Florida, according to industry statistics.
Waste Management now can charge high rates as long as they undercut by pennies the cost of hauling the garbage to another county. The reason is that they have Broward’s only operating landfill.
With the rising cost of fuel, hauling trash to another county will become even less of an option in the future.
Landfills are offensive, but necessary for the foreseeable future. Even if every piece of garbage is sifted for recyclables, there is waste left that cannot be reused. It must be placed in a landfill or burned for energy, which creates ash that must be landfilled.
The county-owned landfill is on U. S. 27, closer to alligators than homes. It already accepts some types of trash.
Opening the county landfill to all types of trash would provide competition, which is the American way to create a better deal for consumers.
The Board wouldnâ€™t even study expanding the use of the site!
Board Chair Ilene Lieberman called such a study â€œquite an additional cost to the countyâ€ â€“ about $100,000.
Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto has a different view.
Scuotto wants to explore reopening the county landfill to household and commercial waste. It is already processing vegetation and construction debris.
He warns that without competition, â€œweâ€™re stuck with a (Waste Mangement) rate and nowhere to go.â€
The countyâ€™s landfill already has an -up-to-date permit for household and commercial waste disposal. Industry insiders say a simple modification of the operational plan would be all that is necessary to begin accepting all waste and offering real competition to Waste Management.
Competition is what City Manager John Stunson of Oakland Park was hoping for when he wrote the Board this week. He calling for the Board to reverse its early vote and examine opening the county land fill to all waste.
â€œDetermining the cost of operation of the landfill would appear to be an integral component of fairly pricing the cost of solid waste disposal in an environment lacking competition,â€ Stunson wrote.
The Board can change its mind and should. Members need to come to their senses and break the hold that Waste Management has over this county
Taxpayers have heard a lot of talk about reform from our esteemed Broward office holders this year.
Is it reform to continue Waste Managementâ€™s 20-year monopoly on waste disposal?
I donâ€™t think so.