The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, May 20, 1993 at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; Catherine Hanson, Vice Chairman (arrived at 9:25 a.m.); Rhonda H. Gerber; Don Bailey; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; Steve Hiney, Recycling Coordinator; Ron Roche, Director of Solid Waste Management Division; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Solid Waste Workshop this date was for the purpose of reviewing the proposed rates for solid waste collection and recycling services in the unincorporated area of the County with Industrial Waste Service (IWS), Town & Country Refuse, Inc. (T&C), and South Lake Refuse Service, Inc. (SLR), and to give the Board an opportunity to further consider solid waste collection alternatives. He stated that the Solid Waste Study Committee has requested that he convey to the Board that said Committee did not study, involve itself with, or make any recommendation regarding collection for the category of business commercial. Commr. Swartz suggested that the scheduled solid waste meeting on June 1, 1993, at 3:30 p.m., be an advertized public hearing.
Mr. Pete Wahl, County Manager, stated that, pursuant to the last workshop, staff and The Resource Development Group have reviewed a number of issues that were raised and have developed one option that addresses the key points.
Mr. Ron Roche, Director, Solid Waste Management Division, appeared before the Board and distributed a memo, dated May 17, 1993, addressed to Mr. Pete Wahl, regarding exclusive franchise waivers and stated that the negotiating team has developed an administrative petition process whereby those commercial and collectively billed residential properties would be allowed to exempt-out of the exclusive franchise system for solid waste collection. He stated that the customer administrative petition exempt-out criteria will include the assumption that all improved properties in the unincorporated area would be included within the exclusive franchise areas of each of the haulers; the County would issue annual commercial haul permits to hauling companies which qualified under new permit regulations; existing limited-haul permits would be grandfathered, but under the new permit regulations; and customers, which would be allowed to petition out of the exclusive franchise area, would be all commercial classifications and collectively billed residential properties. He noted that the proposed process would be an administrative petition process, therefore, expediting said process.
Mr. Roche explained that the function of the administrative petition process would provide commercial and multi-family properties the opportunity to petition out of the exclusive franchise area through an administrative petition process. The petitioner would request to be excluded based on price or other reason(s). If the price was the only reason for the petition, a requirement would be that the franchise hauler, whose area the property was located in, be given opportunity to meet or beat the price quoted by another permitted hauler. If the customer is bidding their service, the existing franchise hauler must be included in the bid request. He further explained that, if the customer is petitioning out for reasons other than price, the fact alone would be sufficient as long as another permitted hauler was collecting the solid waste.
Mr. Roche further explained that the administrative petition approach provides the ability to insure that waste is being hauled by a permitted hauler; the ability to insure that curbside recycling is included in the service, if the waste is collected curbside; the ability to insure that disposal is billed as a pass-thru by the permitted hauler; and the ability to keep track of haulers, customer service, and rates charged in the unincorporated area. He noted that the administrative petition process also maintains the ability for a customer to select the hauler of their choice and the price, but allows a check and balance by the County.
Mr. Roche stated that the customers in the unincorporated area of the County will be informed who their perspective hauler will be by letter, if the Board accepts the proposed administrative petition process. He noted that the negotiating team has not presented to the haulers information regarding this scenario, and it has not been determined, at this point in time, whether the haulers will remain with their negotiated rates under this scenario.
Ms. Diane Martin, The Resource Development Group, appeared before the Board and stated that additional pricing information is available with regard to the types of solid waste collection consisting of residential, commercial, can, and dumpster service. She stated that preliminary figures are available, at this time, on dumpster service accounts and noted that, out of approximately four hundred and fifty (450) accounts, the number of dumpster accounts that would receive an increase in rates would be fewer than five, and the majority of those accounts will receive drastic decreases in the rate. She further stated that additional information is being collected and will be presented at the time that the actual proposed commercial rates, based on the negotiation process, are presented to the Board on June 1, 1993.
Ms. Martin stated that the definition of residential and commercial, to her understanding, continues to be dwelling units, mobile home parks, or residentially disposed and residential disposal units; and commercial entities are those that are coded by the Property Appraiser, and State Department of Revenue as commercial entities.
Ms. Martin noted that they have had preliminary conversations with the haulers, and would request direction from the Board for approval to meet with the haulers to finalize the administrative petition approach.
Mr. Andy Werner, manager of Shangri-La By The Lake, appeared before the Board and stated that he is in the process of becoming a limited hauler, and requested clarification on the laws governing permitting for a limited haul permit.
Mr. Roche stated that staff will be making a recommendation to the Board regarding regulations for standards by which limited haulers will be required to comply. At this time, Commr. Swartz requested that Mr. Werner meet to discuss the status of his limited haul permit with County staff.
Mr. Louis Stone, Attorney, representing Industrial Waste Service, appeared before the Board and stated that Industrial Waste Service supports the original proposal that was presented during the negotiating process rather than the administrative petition process being presented this date. He stated that, if it was the intent of the Board to end up with an administrative petition approach, Industrial Waste Service would have preferred to negotiate for this approach. He stated that it will be necessary to revisit the negotiated rates to assure that said approach is feasible to Industrial Waste Service. Mr. Stone requested clarification on the definition of "multi-family", at which time it was the Board's direction to provide clarification to the "multi-family" definition. He further requested clarification on the language regarding the right of first refusal. He stated that Industrial Waste Service strongly objects to the language allowing the customer to petition out for reasons other than price. He requested clarification on the assumption that the County would issue annual commercial haul permits to hauling companies which qualified under new permit regulations, and questioned if said commercial haul permits were to be limited to the three (3) haulers.
It was noted, at this time, that the Board unanimously supports the intent that the commercial haul permits be limited to the three (3) residential and commercial haulers who met the criteria that the Board initially set out in the negotiating process.
Mr. Stone stated that the only possible advantage to the administrative petition process is maintaining the ability for a customer to select the hauler of their choice and price, suggesting that it is an advantage only to the County. He noted that there are significant disadvantages to the haulers, and some practical and logistical problems to the County. He informed the Board that Industrial Waste Service will review the proposed rates, and the proposed administrative petition process, and requested that the Board look carefully at commercial solid waste collection.
Commr. Swartz explained that a letter will be sent to all commercial accounts in the unincorporated area of the County outlining their options for solid waste collection, informing them of the franchise hauler for their franchise area, and what their rate will be for solid waste collection. He stated that the large majority of the accounts will immediately see a savings based on the new rates. The letter will also explain the exempt-out petition process.
Commr. Hanson noted that the advantages that have been addressed in the administrative petition process are advantages that were already in place, and that the only new advantage to said process is the ability for a customer to select the hauler of their choice and the price, and allowing a check and balance by the County.
Mr. Sanford Minkoff, Attorney, representing Town and Country Refuse Service, Inc., appeared before the Board and stated that Town and Country is not totally happy with what is being proposed. He addressed the issue of service, and the customer opting to petition out for reasons other than price, stating that the customer may choose one hauler over another because of additional services that may be provided by a given hauler. He stated that Town & Country prefers the proposal being presented this date over the previously negotiated proposal, noting that Town & Country has stated previously that they believe in free market, particularly for commercial solid waste collection, and this proposal leans toward free market. He suggested that the County set maximum rates, minimum service levels, and allow the commercial customers to chose their own hauler. He expressed concern that the initial maps outlining the geographic franchise areas were not correct, and the customer counts were not based upon the market share, and further stated that Town & County has a net loss of approximately one-third of their customers.
Mr. Minkoff requested clarification on the "annual" language, noting that the contract that they were negotiating was a multiple year contract. He stated that many of their existing commercial customers have entered into long term agreements with Town & Country and requested clarification if said contracts will be abrogated immediately on October 1, 1993, if this administrative petition process is put in place, or will said contracts remain in place until the expiration date of said contracts.
Discussion occurred regarding the map illustrating the geographic franchise areas, at which time, Mr. Minkoff stated that Town & Country did sign the map indicating their approval; however, they added the words "subject to customer verification and market share" on the bottom of said map. He further stated that, when Town & Country agreed to the map lines, it was due to the fact that they were told, if they didn't agree, they were out of business, and that it was their understanding that the maps were based on current market share.
Mr. Basil Clark, South Lake Refuse Service, Inc., appeared before the Board and stated that the way that the proposal is being presented is not in the best interest of South Lake Refuse Service. He expressed concern with the ability of the customer to petition out of the program for reasons other than the price, noting that even if price were the only reason for opting out, South Lake Refuse Service would require further discussions regarding the residential lines. He stated that South Lake Refuse Service's residential customer base was established on the premise that commercial and residential were included, and if one is removed, it leaves the other open to question.
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, stated that, in response to a question presented earlier regarding the existing contracts that the haulers currently have, in general terms, most contracts have provisions for change in law, and the solid waste collection program would be considered as a change in law. She noted that all existing franchise permits are up for renewal as of October 1, 1993. She further stated that the County will be amending the Ordinance regarding how exclusive franchise areas are created, and said Ordinance will be changed to reflect exclusive franchise areas.
Mr. Roche addressed questions that have been brought up for discussion, and stated that the three (3) haulers will be required to be permitted, and the length of said permits will be determined by the Board. He further stated that, in regard to the question regarding the option to petition out of the exclusive franchise through an administrative petition process, consideration has been given to providing a window to those customers who may wish to exempt-out.
Commr. Hanson requested clarification in regard to the terms that were presented during the negotiations with the haulers, and if they were to include all commercial and residential. Mr. Roche responded that the haulers were requested to jointly draw the lines on the map where they would prefer their franchise areas to be, based on commercial and residential. At that time, the haulers were informed that some properties would be exempted from this process, and those properties involved collectively billed residential, and not commercial.
At this time, the Board directed staff to continue negotiations with the three haulers for the purpose of reviewing the issues, and negotiate the points, as outlined within the context of the proposed administrative petition process.
Discussion occurred regarding future solid waste collection workshops and meetings, at which time the Board scheduled a workshop on solid waste collection at 3:00 p.m., on May 25, 1993; and a public hearing on solid waste collection at 3:30 p.m. on June 1, 1993.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK