Adams Sanitation Service in Pensacola? Here's What Happened.
So, you might have heard from Jim Little’s story in the Pensacola News Journal earlier this week that the City of Pensacola announced a 14% increase in trash hauling prices.
Naturally, we at Adams Sanitation thought this price increase was worth a closer look. Pensacola’s city-operated services are more expensive than ours on a per pick-up basis and this latest increase will drive up prices for their once-weekly service even more! Heck, they don’t even pick up bulk items.
Long story short – it sounded like the potential that government inefficiency was giving the taxpayers a pretty raw deal.
So, we took one of our trucks down to Pensacola City Hall to make our case. Before that – we were able to get with a local television news station about the issue. We explained that the customers of Pensacola probably deserve better than a 14% increase in price at the beginning of a recession – and that we hoped that we might be able to get the Pensacola City Council to consider privatizing an inefficient and unpopular government department – which currently spends more money than it brings in.
Talking Trash With the Pensacola City Council
The Cliff’s Notes on this meeting are important – and we definitely didnt know what we were signing up for by attending the meeting. Finally, after approximately four hours of policy and procedure on everything from disability ramps to micromobility scooters (which is all important!) we were able to plead our case for private trash service to the women and men of the Pensacola City Council.
Here’s what we said – in written and video form!
Good evening Mr. President, Mr. Mayor, Council members,
My wife and I are longtime admirers and regular visitors to your wonderful community. As the CRA chair within the City of Crestview, I have particular admiration for your thriving downtown district. Amenties like Wahoos Stadium and events like gallery night speak well to the long way the city has come in the last 20 years.
This evening, however, I am here on behalf of Adams Sanitation. Adams is a growing waste management company with operations in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties. Having carefully reviewed the Sanitation Rate Study and Business Plan supporting the pending rate increase proposal, I felt it important to share an industry perspective before you make your decision.
I believe strongly in the value of local government. Cities and counties perform important functions that the private sector is poorly suited to provide. No one wants for-profit police or parks. However, I believe equally strongly that there are services the private sector is better equipped to provide. Having reviewed your rate and service model, I can say unequivocally that Adams Sanitation could match your current service levels at your current pricing, and do so while delivering high customer service and earning a fair profit without the proposed rate increase you’ll discuss tonight.
However, I am not here to pitch Adams Sanitation. Instead, I’d simply like to suggest the study you are relying on is insufficient in its scope for an informed decision. The consultant didn’t evaluate the department’s efficiency or performance compared to other municipal solid waste services. Additionally, the scope of the report did not allow for the benchmarking of the department against the private sector.
The only thing this report did do was quantify how much more money your citizens would need to pay in order to maintain the status quo.
It’s a bleak status quo, too. One which involves a department operating at a financial loss. One where less than 70% of customers rate the department with 4 or 5 stars.
As a private enterprise, we are driven to operate efficiently so as to be profitable while maintaining excellent customer service. Indeed, in our last customer survey over 88% of respondents awarded our team with 4 or 5 stars.
Again, the point here is that for you to be able to make a fully informed decision, a more thorough comparison of alternatives is required.
There are many options to be explored and no shortage of competitors within the market to make proposals. It could be that a hybrid system is most appropriate with the City maintaining those portions of the operation that it truly excels at. Maybe that’s picking up yard waste collection as they do in the City of Niceville or maybe it is some other variation. It is also entirely possible that after a thorough analysis this Council makes the decision to raise rates and maintain the status quo. However, without a broader analysis, I am not sure that citizens can have confidence in the decision to raise rates so drastically.
Should the City decide to re-evaluate and seek input from the industry, our team would certainly be honored to participate in that conversation. Again, thank you for the opportunity to address you this evening and thank you for your service. I am well aware that it can often be a thankless role.
The Results Of Our Discussion With The Pensacola City Council About Trash, Garbage and Waste Hauling
Will the City of Pensacola use Adams Sanitation to pick up trash in the immediate future?
Probably not. In our humble estimation – it looks like only one of the members of the Pensacola City Council seemed agreeable to the idea that a privitazation change should be made.
That’s ok though – because we accomplished our objective! We went down to Pensacola City Hall with the goal to protect the pocketbooks of our neighbors in Pensacola – especially during these trying times. That message definitely did not fall on deaf ears. The City Council decided to delay their decision on price increases until August the 18th.
As far as we are concerned – that’s a win.