Trash Wars Update - October 16th, 2021.
The Latest Front In the Battle For South Santa Rosa County, Navarre and Gulf Breeze.
We had another busy day in court with Waste Pro in Santa Rosa County on Friday. Here’s an update.
While Judge Drake did grant Waste Pro a temporary injunction earlier this week bringing our South Santa Rosa service to a halt for the moment – one procedural issue remained; the setting of a bond. (A bond is the amount of money paid by the party seeking the inunction and held by the Court) If the injunction is later removed or overturned as the merits of the case are addressed, the bond can be provided to the enjoined party (Adams) to offset for the damage of being enjoined.
So we headed back to the (virtual) courtroom again with the folks in green and blue in order to have the bond set. We were pretty sure that even Waste Pro doesn’t believe in the arguments that their high-priced, corporate defense lawyers are making. How do we know? Because, when billion-dollar companies make claims they actually believe in, they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and Waste Pro initially proposed a bond amount of $5,000…. 🙄🙄
Basically, they wanted to tie up YOUR right to competitively bid public contracts and YOUR freedom to choose your trash company for a grand total of $5,000.
That’s less than $.20 per household in Navarre and Gulf Breeze.
That’s what they think your freedom is worth, $.20.
The judge settled on a bond of $50,000. (Far below what we argued would be fair, but better than the ridiculous amount Waste Pro initially asked for).
What does this mean for you – our South Santa Rosa County Customer?
It means that the fight continues – and we aren’t backing down.
That being said, if you would like to end service and be refunded, we will refund you for your deposit and delivery fee. Just email our customer service representatives at email@example.com.
All customers will be refunded one half month’s fee for the service we were not able to provide to you.
It also means that October 16th’s pickup will be the last one for a little bit. We are working on alternatives to help us bridge the gap of serving you, while still making sure to stay in compliance with the court. We should have more information as this develops.
It also means, we are asking you to hold on to your cart for a little bit, while we fight this out.
What does illegal mean anyway?
The issue came up during our court hearings this week. Was it illegal for us to pick up trash in South Santa Rosa County without a County permit. Certainly Waste Pro made that argument. We’ll admit that it seems a bit hypocritical to be accused of illegal activity by a Company that was granted illegal exclusivity (as already determined in North Santa Rosa) in an illegal contract that was not competitively bid and violated County rules – in addition to defying common sense and yet, that’s what we are dealing with.
So here’s our argument on that issue (and it is surprisingly simple):
This is America.
That’s really it in a nut shell.
But more specifically, our Constitution makes clear that the power of government derives from the people and that powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the states or the people. As Americans, we opted for a system that does not require us to ask permission from government to undertake activities not expressly prohibited by law. When we wake each day we have the right to do or not do as we please so long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others or violate any properly adopted law. As citizens it is not our job to prove that each action we take is lawful, it is the government’s job to prove an action unlawful.
And so the same here. We believe strongly that we were entitled to a permit and that the permit has been unlawfully withheld by the County in an effort to protect itself from the egregious act of awarding Waste Pro a no-bid contract. And so we believe it is the County’s burden to stop us if the County truly thinks the activity we are undertaking (providing a legitimate and needed service at a fair price to citizens who want it) is illegal. And interestingly, the County made no such attempt, which is telling.
Instead, Waste Pro, who understandably has an economic interest to protect (albeit an illegally acquired one), is serving in the role of attack dog. And clearly they found judicial sympathy at this early stage. But that is ok. The merits of the case have not been decided. We firmly believe that so long as there is someone tenacious and financially solvent enough to fight for it, truth and justice usually prevail.
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!