City of Port St. Lucie updates lawsuit against
Waste Pro for breach of contract
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL – After months of gross non-performance, the City of Port St. Lucie is once again asking a court to mandate Waste Pro to fulfill its obligations to our residents under its contract.
On Friday, March 4, 2022, the City filed legal documents asking a court to determine that Waste Pro is in breach of its contract with the City of Port St. Lucie. The City filed the original lawsuit in September 2021, stating Waste Pro has been deficient in its waste collection contractual obligations.
“Waste Pro has materially breached the Franchise Agreement by failing to provide the aforementioned required solid waste, recyclable materials and yard waste removal services, resulting in a public health, safety and welfare risk to the City and its residents,” the lawsuit states.
In the last two months, the City has received more than 5,400 solid waste complaints, and the problem continues to persist. As an example, from Feb. 28, 2022, to March 5, 2022, approximately 30,750 homes in PSL did not have their garbage picked up on time and 67,700 homes did not have their recycling collected on time. About 80,000 homes did not receive proper yard waste collection during that time period. Waste Pro continues to claim labor shortage issues and high turnover once its employees are onboarded.
To alleviate problems with yard waste collection, the City has deployed Public Works crews, together with employees from Neighborhood Services, Utility Systems and Parks and Recreation departments, to assist in collecting yard waste throughout the City. St. Lucie West Services District also is lending support.
The City has charged Waste Pro more than $2 million in administrative charges due to lack of performance under the contract and is utilizing these funds to pay for the costs associated with the supplemented service.
On Monday, February 28, 2022, The City of Port St. Lucie was informed, through a letter from Waste Pro, that it is finding the City in default under the contract unless it intends to give back $1.2 million in administrative charges. The letter states that Waste Pro will formally terminate its Agreement if the administrative charges aren’t paid back to Waste Pro in full within seven days. The City strongly disagrees with Waste Pro’s demand. These administrative charges were agreed to by Waste Pro in the contract, which clearly spells out when they should be charged for lack of performance.
“We have heard our residents’ severe frustration with Waste Pro’s poor service,” said City Manager Russ Blackburn. “By asking a court to determine that a breach of contract has occurred, the City is taking a major step in attempting to end our contractual relationship with Waste Pro so Port St. Lucie can move forward with other waste collection options.”
“It is very disappointing that we have come to this point. The City has exhausted every avenue, and we have an obligation to our residents to provide a level of service that is consistent and reliable. Unfortunately, Waste Pro has left us with no other choice,” said Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin. “While this litigation is ongoing, the City is diligently working on short-term and long-term solutions.”
The City’s contract with Waste Pro is set to end in 2025. If the contract ends earlier as a result of the legal action, the options available to the City Council include issuing an emergency Request For Proposals to hire one or more interim waste haulers and going out to bid earlier than expected for a long-term contract. The Council is expected to discuss short-term and long-term options for solid waste collection at its meeting on March 21.
Customers should continue to put out their garbage, recycling and yard waste on their normally scheduled days. If their waste is not picked up on their regularly scheduled day, residents are asked to leave their containers out, or put the containers back out early the next morning.
Residents are asked to be mindful of the amount of yard waste they place at the curb and reduce it, if possible. A voluntary collection site for yard and bulky waste is available to Port St. Lucie residents seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is located behind the green, fenced-in area, just west of Florida’s Turnpike overpass at the corner of Cameo Boulevard and Crosstown Parkway.
If garbage, recycling or yard waste is not picked up in a timely manner, residents are asked to report it to www.CityofPSL.com/1PSL or through the 1PSL mobile app. We’re using 1PSL to track our residents’ feedback. Resident can also call 1PSL at 772-871-1775; due to high call volumes, there might be longer-than-normal wait times. City representatives will assist you as quickly as possible.