Local News

AP trucks trash to Okeechobee

After one month of a trial period of trucking its garbage to the Okeechobee landfill, the initial savings for the City of Avon Park may lead to a reduction in the city’s sanitation rates.

City Manager Julian Deleon said Wednesday that the city is continuing to use the Highlands County Landfill for smaller grapple trucks, which usually carry 3 tons or less.

“However, on the large refuse truck, we are strictly using Okeechobee due to the increased cost savings to Avon Park sanitation ratepayers,” he said.

The Highlands County landfill charges $45 per ton, while Okeechobee’s rate is 44 percent less at $25 per ton, Deleon said. The gross savings for the month of June was $11,181.

“We are estimating an additional $2,100 in fuel and an added $1,100 in over-time,” he said. The estimated net savings to the city’s ratepayers is $7,981 for the month of June.

Deleon said currently it is in a testing and evaluation mode to determine how the arrangement will work out, Deleon said.

“With only one month of data, I am not ready to draw any firm conclusions,” he said. “However, if the savings continue to materialize, we will seek a long-term contract with Okeechobee and possibly build a transfer station which will eliminate our trucking and labor costs entirely.

“We will make this decision after six months of data is attained.”

If the savings continue, there is a good possibility that Avon Park residential sanitation rate payers will see another rate decrease for the third time in the past four years, Deleon said.

Meanwhile in Lake Placid, town administration saw a chance to save money on the disposal of its trash in Okeechobee, but decided to continue to keep its business local and in the county.

In March, Town Administrator Phil Williams said the town had established a contract with the Okeechobee County landfill.

The agreement, which was signed by Mayor John Holbrook, called for a tipping fee of $25 per ton compared to the $45 per ton fee the town currently pays at the Highlands County landfill.

Williams said switching to the Okeechobee landfill would save the town about $45,000 annually even though it is about twice as far as the Highlands County landfill.

Lake Placid is about 27 miles from the Highlands County landfill on Arbuckle Creek Road and about 50 miles from the Okeechobee County landfill, which is 13 miles east of Okeechobee off of S.R. 70.

Williams said Tuesday, “We stuck with Highlands County.”

Members of the town council felt that is was necessary to remain loyal to Highlands County, he said.

Holbrook said Wednesday he wanted to see if the town could save money and how much it could save.

“As it turned out, by going with them [Okeechobee] we could have saved some money, but I felt that we should be good neighbors and good partners with the county,” he said. “As long as they keep their rates down and we can work with them, I don’t have a problem staying local and I felt that we should do that.”


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