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Naples to increase solid waste rates for city residents starting in 2021

Brittany Carloni
Naples Daily News

Naples residents may see higher waste bills starting in 2021. 

The city is raising solid waste rates by about 25% over the next two years, largely due to an upcoming change in the processor of the city’s recycled material. 

“It's a modest increase spread over two years,” said Bob Middleton, the city’s utilities director.  

Since 2010, recycled material in Naples has been processed through the Lee County material recycle facility. Due to increased capacity, Lee County notified Naples in 2018 that the county would no longer be able to support processing the city’s materials, according to a city memo.

City of Naples seal

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Naples negotiated with Lee County to extend that deadline to March 2021 to allow the city to find a processing center and company to haul materials, according to the city.

At a public meeting on Nov. 4, the Naples City Council approved a three-year agreement with Single Stream Recyclers of Sarasota to process the city’s recycled material. 

The city estimates the cost for these processing and hauling services during the 2021 fiscal year will be $330,000 based on the tons of material collected and current market conditions. 

The cost of recycling is part of the city’s overall solid waste charge, which also includes garbage and horticultural collection, according to the city.

The city brought horticulture collection in-house in October. 

Naples contracted with Kessler Consulting during the 2020 fiscal year to perform a study on the city’s solid waste rates. The company and city staff provided a draft study with recommended increased rates to the city council at a public meeting on Nov. 4.

Instead of raising the rates over one year, the council chose to extend the increase over two years.  

Councilman Ted Blankenship at the city’s Nov. 4 meeting said Naples should consider the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on city residents when raising the rates.

“I would just err on the side of making it easier for working families and spread it out over two years,” Blankenship said. 

The solid waste division of the city’s utilities department serves about 8,200 residences and 11,500 multifamily units, according to the Kessler Consulting study

Single-family residences that currently pay $24.58 per month for city collection services would see their bills increase by about 12% to $27.53 in 2021, Middleton said.

In 2022, bills for single-family residences would then increase to $31.49, about a 14% increase, Middleton said. 

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Increased rates will also bring the city’s solid waste fund up to the city’s recommended levels. The city’s solid waste fund in the current 2021 fiscal year is budgeted to spend more dollars than it is bringing in, according to the 2021 budget. 

“In other words, that means we have to be able to build up our fund, and since we’re an enterprise fund, we have to maintain that fund balance at a certain level,” Middleton said.

Middleton said Naples residents do a quality job of recycling. In 2019, the city performed an audit of its recycled material and found 7% contamination, he said. 

"That is almost unheard of. Typically, contamination rates are around 25 to 30%," Middleton said. "We need to thank our residents for the good job that they're doing on the material in their recycling." 

Brittany Carloni is the city of Naples reporter at the Naples Daily News. Support her work by subscribing to our local news organization. Find her on Twitter as @CarloniBrittany.