NorthEscambia.com Investigative Series Part Six: Walker’s Plans To Pull Allied Waste Franchise

March 19, 2008

Today, NorthEscambia.com continues our seven part investigative series looking at Allied Waste and their service to the citizens of the North Escambia area. Today, we will read comments from Emerald Coast Utilities Authority member Larry Walker about his plan to pull Allied’s franchise. On Thursday morning, we will have comments from Allied’s general manager about the whole situation and our series.

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is preparing itself to eventually take over garbage collection North Escambia from Allied Waste.

Allied Waste currently has a contract that extends until 2010 for residential garbage pickup north of Ten Mile Road for 11,000 households. But ECUA District 5 Board Member Larry Walker sees several situations where ECUA might take over the contract sooner. Residential garbage in Century is picked up by Allied under a separate contract with the town.

ECUA voted in November to purchase 11,000 automated collection garbage cans instead of their usual 2,000 per year. The board had voted against the proposal a month earlier, but approve the purchase after an open letter from Walker. ECUA also voted to purchase seven new garbage trucks.

The trucks have arrived; the cans have not. Walker said the cans are expected to be delivered in the next month or two.

Walker has repeatedly called for the termination of Allied’s franchise because he believes they are providing poor service. While the cans have not arrived, Walker believes the Allied-ECUA agreement should end quickly.

“ECUA should proceed immediately to seek to terminate the Allied franchise. I assume that Allied will refuse to cooperate, a lawsuit may entail, or an adjudication procedure. This will take a few months. By the time the legal process is completed, ECUA will have the cans and the drivers, and a plan for distributing the cans quickly,” Walker said in an email response to questions from NorthEscambia.com.

If his fellow board members approved the takeover, Walker said there are some factors that might delay ECUA from picking up residential waste in North Escambia.

One delay might come from Allied choosing to fight the franchise takeover in the courts, Walker said.

“If Allied agrees to the takeover, the next challenge is cans,” he said. “If the 11,000 cans have arrived, there would be the time required to distribute them—a matter of a few weeks. If Allied would agree to ECUA use of the existing Allied cans, this factor would not slow down the takeover at all.”

Additional delays could result from the hiring and training of drivers, Walker said. “Putting all this together, ECUA could assume operation of the system within 30 days IF (a) Allied did not fight it, (b) cans were available—either new ECUA cans or the existing Allied cans—and (c) drivers could be employed/trained.”

As for the residential Allied customers in the Town of Century, they would see no change under Walker’s plans. He said that ECUA would consider picking up residential waste in Century “only if the City of Century requested it. That is City business, and ECUA will not infringe on the autonomy of the City of Century in any way.”

To read part one of this series, click here, for background information.
To read part two of this series, click here.
To read part three of this series, click here.
To read part four of this series, click here.
To read part five of this series, click here.

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