Boca Raton Officials To Discuss Possibly Privatizing Garage Pick Up Services

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By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor

Boca Raton is considering privatizing its garbage collection services.

During a recent city workshop meeting, director of Boca’s municipal services Dan Grippo told city council members that the city is growing and the city is having a hard time keeping up when it comes to collecting trash.

This year he said the city has more than $200,000 in overtime charges to keep up with demand.

So he proposed three options for the council to consider. Those options include keeping the service in-house, but with an expansion of the city’s municipal complex, privatizing residential pick up or privatizing residential and commercial trash collection.

He said the council will need to make a decision sooner than later because the city’s contract with Waste Management, which services the area by the Town Center Mall that was annexed into the city, is set to expire September 2018. He said that contract has been extended as many times as allowed and the city would have to add routes to take over collection of the area.

He said with the city’s population growing as well the city will have to add more routes as well.

In addition to adding more routes, he said the city’s municipal complex is too small for the city’s fleet and maintenance needs.

“We are very cramped on space,” he said.

He said maintenance on the city’s fleet takes time and is costly. Sometimes the repairs have to be sent out to be fixed, he said. He added that city often finds it challenging to hire qualified mechanics for the work the city needs to be done.

He said to reconfigure the complex would cost between $8-10 million. Or, he said, the city would have to acquire at least 10 acres of land to build a new facility. He estimated that would cost between $15-21 million.

“We are bursting at the seams,” Councilman Andrea O’Rourke said. “Clearly we need to do something for space. There is a cost to growth.”

To resolve some of the spacing issues and the overtime, he said the council should also consider privatizing the service. He said that option would likely save residents money.

Currently, residents in single-family homes are charged  $16.90 per month for collection services. Multi-family residents are charged  $10.25 per month.

Council members said they are open to considering privatizing residential garage collection. They asked city staff to come back with some more financial information before making a decision.