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Santa Rosa Addresses Recycling Contract


The Santa Rosa County Commission is at odds with the company providing recycling services to the county. But a resolution could come as early as Thursday morning’s regular meeting.

County Attorney Angela Jones says the complaints – such as overflowing drop-off sites, unattended properties, and a 30 thousand dollar debt owed to the county – are considered violations of the five-year contract signed in 2012. County Administrator Hunter Walker concurred, but added that short of the county going back into the recycling business, they have no other choice.

During Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, West Florida Recycling’s Bruce Shuman presented a lengthy “mea culpa” for a number of failings during 2013. He said it all began last summer, when they were forced to separate from Rainbow Environmental Services. That led to a temporary closing -- and then Mother Nature took it from there.

“Within one week of the close, we got hit with almost 30 inches of rain within a two-week period,” says Shuman. “This is essentially the event of what started the downfall.”

The heavy rains caused the on-site retention ponds to fail, flooding the plant and causing what Shuman calls a “triple-whammy:” all of the paper bales and material were destroyed; the material set for delivery was also ruined, and the massive cleanup of all of it.

As a result, Shuman concedes that the recycling needs of Santa Rosa County were ignored during that time.
The Commission Monday gave West Florida Recycling three days to catch up its lease payments on county-owned land. Failure to do so would be grounds to terminate the contract. But Lynchard doesn’t see that happening.

“I think it’s obvious that the county needs someone to handle this material. We’ve had a good relationship in the past, and we want to repair that relationship,” said Lynchard.

WFR’s Bruce Shuman says thanks to refinancing, they should return to business as usual in the next few weeks. Add to that a recapitalization, which he says will provide secure long-term growth – possibly including new facilities either in the Florida Panhandle or in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Official action on the West Florida Recycling contract is expected at the Santa Rosa County Commission’s regular meeting, at 9:00 am Thursday.