Bob Cole's Response to Public's Trash Outcry
Bob’s Not Thrilled With His Constituents’ Emails Lately.
Well, we got a copy of Bob Cole’s response(s) to YOUR complaints about the lack of trash service choice in South Santa Rosa County. He used a form letter, but in his defense he has had nearly 1500 emails concerning trash pickup in the last couple of days to respond to :).
Thanks for your support so far! (If you haven’t signed it, here is the link! It takes about 10 seconds to do.)
In his letter, he basically made three points.
- He doesn’t want to end a contract entered into in “good faith”.
- He thinks that a second trash service option would mean too many trucks on the roads – which in turn would mean traffic jams in neighborhoods
- He says that because our owner’s husband, Nathan, is a county commissioner in Okaloosa County – he should know that a franchise, like the one in Okaloosa County, is a superior way to do business. He thinks this means we at Adams Sanitation should know better.
Breaking down Bob’s bad argument
The Commissioner of course is entitled to his own opinions, but he isn’t entitled to his own facts. Let’s go through the claims.
- In order for a contract to be entered into in good faith, the contract would have to have been competitively bid – according to the county’s own bylaws. The County did not follow its own purchasing rules. The county’s own rules say that if a contract like this is not competitively bid, it is null and void. Bob Cole can’t deny that, because it’s true and he knows it.
- Bob thinks that the addition of another trash company into the southern portion of the county would mean too many trash trucks on the road, yet you don’t hear about any complaints like this from the north end. Furthermore, how would Commissioner Bob even know that ‘too many trucks on the road’ would be a problem for the people of South Santa Rosa County – he hasn’t asked anyone, held a single town hall or had the county’s public information team ask any questions of the public to that effect. What we do know is that almost 1800 families (as of the morning of September 3), have asked him to consider allowing the free market to work in the South End of the County just this week alone.
- Finally, and my personal favorite, he believes that because the Nathan is elected in Okaloosa County which has a franchise agreement – we are acting like a bunch of hypocrites. Well, we think that’s a bunch of malarkey. Adams Sanitation is not, nor has it ever been, opposed to the principal of franchises. Instead, we just believe that franchise agreements should be competitively bid producing the best value for taxpayers, which everyone knows, this one wasn’t. Heck, Florida statutes even say so! Commissioner Cole is missing the point. At a fundamental level, neither Nathan, Crystal nor anyone else at Adams Sanitation has an issue with franchise agreements. They certainly have their time and place in the world of trash. The issue with Santa Rosa County is not that it franchised, the issue is with how the County has gone about it.
We believe the Commission needs to answer the following questions before making a decision on how to proceed:
- Was the franchise ordinance properly adopted following the rules that the County made for itself?
- Did the County seek input from citizens before abruptly deciding to transition from twice-weekly service to once-weekly service and remove recycling as an included service?
- Does the Commission believe that by allowing Waste Pro to amend the current contract during the middle of the contract to increase pricing and reduce service that it acted in the best interests of the citizens of South Santa Rosa County, and if so, how so?
- Did the County competitively bid the current service contract to ensure it was getting the best value for citizens? (I would bet that if Mr. Cole was making a very expensive personal purchase, he would first conduct due diligence on the value, by getting an appraisal or by getting several bids or quotes to ensure he was getting fair value….)
- Did the County follow its own purchasing manual requirements when awarding the current amended contract?
- Since displacing the natural regulating force of the free market, has the County properly overseen the contract provider to ensure citizens are getting what they are being forced to pay for?
- Can the County say that the system is working or that the citizens are happy with it? What does the complaint data show?
At the end of the day, Bob Cole works for you – the taxpayer. Let him know what you want to see happen with trash in Santa Rosa County, even if he doesn’t want to hear it.
Christopher Saul is the Chief Marketing Officer for Adams Sanitation. When he isn’t slinging hot garbage from the keyboard – he is spending time with his family. He also likes to watch his SMU Mustangs play football and basketball.
https://adamssanitation.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Automatic.mp4 Not every day you get to visit a daycare with a trash truck. Our Customer Service Manager, Nat Mize, gave a short presentation to a group of three and four year olds at the Early Learning Coalition in Gulf Breeze in March. (She’s been talking about it for the better part of two weeks – she was just as excited as the kiddos she talked to about recycling and landfills!) These kids were prepared. Like super prepared. When we (Facebook guy Christopher went to take photos and video) showed up – the kids had created a cardboard recycling truck with our logo on the side – complete with wheels and everything! Nat talked to the kids about the importance of reducing the materials we use when we can, re-using and repurposing the other things we use, and recycling what we can. We even got to take them on a virtual drone tour of the Santa Rosa County landfill in East Milton! The kids learned about how much trash we make on a daily basis (about ten pounds per person!) and how we get it to the landfill! The kids listen while Adams Sanitation Customer Service Manager Nat Mize teaches them about recycling and landfills. The kids of Mrs. Bri’s class smile in front of a Adams Sanitation Baby Garbage Truck! Trash Q and A The kids then asked questions about all sorts of things – they were pretty curious about the trash world! Here’s just a little sample of what they asked: Do trash workers get used to the smell? Yes, they do. There are some people who try the job and realize it is a dealbreaker (it does smell bad, after all) – but most of the trash truck drivers and their helpers (called jumpers) get used to the smell after a couple of days. Did you always want to work at a trash company? The short answer is no! Most of the members of the Adams Sanitaiton team are in the trash industry as their second or even third industry! But that diverse experiential background means we have really good ideas and opinions on making the industry even better! Where does the trash go? Our trash in Santa Rosa County goes to the Santa Rosa County Lanfill 99.99% of the time. Every once in a while – trash from Adams Sanitation ends up at the Baker Transfer station next door in Okaloosa County. What should the French National Government do about the waste workers strike that’s taken place for more than a week now? We’re kidding, they didn’t ask that one. Honestly, we’d be in a pinch if they did! Do you pick up the trash and recycling together? A lot of adults ask us this one, too! We do not pick up the trash and recycling together. Furthermore, our recycling goes to the recycling sorting station in northern Escambia County. After that – we took the kids out for the best part – seeing an actual (mini) trash truck (that we cleaned thoroughly)! The kids response was great! They loved the trash truck, listened well and had a good time learning about what we do! We had a great time and hope they did, too! Nat goes for a ride in Adams Sanitation’s newest trash truck – supplied by the kids at the Early Learning Coalition
Dump Fees Are Up – Here’s What That Means For Your Trash Bill Bottom line up front: Santa Rosa County has voted to increase the cost of dumping trash at the county landfill, which will result in a slight increase in trash service costs. However, Adams Sanitation will not raise rates until their annual increase next year, and the Santa Rosa County landfill is still significantly less expensive than neighboring counties. The increase will cost Adams Sanitation approximately $6,000 per month, but they plan to absorb the cost this year without raising customer rates. Santa Rosa County’s commissioners took a 3-1 vote to raise the cost of dumping trash at the county landfill in February, which means we will all have to end up paying a little bit more to get trash service or to run a trash business. But there are some critical takeaways from the decision we want you to know about: 🙅 Adams Sanitation will NOT raise your trash rates over this until our annual increase subsequent January 💰It will cost us about $6,000 per month MORE to dump trash every month 💵 The Santa Rosa County Landfill is still significantly LESS EXPENSIVE than taking trash to our disposal facilities in neighboring counties. 🗣️ Tell your friends and neighbors about our excellent service! The more people who sign up with us, the more we can spread costs and keep your rates down! A sky view above the Santa Rosa County Landfill in East Milton. No rate increase right now for Adams Sanitation Customers. Last year, we had to raise rates mid-year due to a doubling of diesel costs. At the same time, this increase in dump fees is not put-us-out-of-business-if-we-don’t-raise-rates bad. We are going to absorb the costs this year. Our team has already had several meetings to determine how we will do that, but it’s been made clear it won’t be through raising your monthly rate. The total cost for this increase is about 50 cents per customer and household per month and may impact our rate calculator next year. What this costs us The good news is that we can absorb the cost of the increased dump fees for the year. The bad news is that the increased cost will work out to about $50,000 this year alone – a lot of money for a small business like ours to absorb. The Santa Rosa County landfill is significantly less expensive than everyone else’s When we heard we were about to receive a bill of an extra $50,000 from the county, we did what any other red-blooded American would do when faced with a stressful situation – we shopped and price compared. Believe me when I tell you, despite the price increase, we still have it pretty good in Santa Rosa County. Over in Okaloosa County, the cost to dump the same ton of trash is $75. To take our trash over there, we’d need to charge about an additional $6 per month plus the cost of diesel and labor. That stuff adds up quickly – and we’d soon be forced to charge exorbitant rates just to come and get your trash. To the west, the Perdido Landfill charges $45.06 per ton, currently $3.00 more per ton than in Santa Rosa County – only six months more. But once you add in the $52 for diesel and $50+ for labor costs, you’re looking at another pretty steep price hike for the same service. While we’re not thrilled about losing money to this price increase, it could be a lot worse – so, a little bit of a silver lining there. What can be done to keep costs down? The good news is that some factors are keeping our costs down this year! Diesel prices have dropped some as we have matured as a business. We have been able to keep people around longer term at Adams Sanitation – which means we are running more efficiently. Our labor costs have dropped a bit because we are not constantly looking for new employees, burning them out with overtime, or paying more for overtime work (yay!). We are also growing! More and more people are signing up daily to get the best trash service in town! That means we can increase our routes’ density- making us more efficient. The more efficient we are, the lower we can keep our prices while still paying decent wages for a (very) hard day of work and making a fair profit. We still need help, though. If you feel that we’ve earned it – tell your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family about the high level of service you get from Adams Sanitation. The more people we get to serve, the better off our customers, our local employees, and our small business!