A fight over trash is expected to end this week. Waste Pro accused the City of Cape Coral of not paying for its services after the city said the company didn’t hold up its end of the bargain when it let trash pile up on the streets.
Now there is word of a settlement between the city and Waste Pro. If a majority of council members vote yes, the settlement becomes official.
Cape Coral and Waste Pro have been at odds over collections and payment for more than a year.
Cape Coral neighbors got angry and loud in 2021 when trash piled up in front of their homes. The smell wasn’t so good either.
“Our beautiful city was becoming a dump,” said Jose Torna.
“I think the most frustrating thing is the flies, haha. You know, getting into the garbage,” said Carol Newman.
In response, the city came down hard on Waste Pro for failing to pick up the trash as scheduled and even fined the company.
In response, Waste Pro sued the city, asking for $30,000to $50,000, accusing Cape Coral of assessing damages in violation of their contract.
“I didn’t know why they would be suing the city, you know, because they were the people who are not picking up the garbage, you know. They had an obligation. They had a contract. They should do their job,” said Newman.
After months of negotiations, both sides reached an agreement. Waste Pro will get $1.7 million from the city. The city will withhold $908,191.31 from Waste Pro.
That money will pay off expenses the city racked up when Cape Coral workers helped with pickup, set-off from franchise fees, and customer service rebates.
Waste Pro also agreed not to charge the city for bulk hauling services to the bulk pickup site for the upcoming budget year.
Jose Torna said he just cares about whether the trash gets picked up regularly, and that’s been the case lately. “It gets done properly on time, and we get the service that we pay for.”
Trash bins lined the street of Torna’s neighborhood in July 2021. Every day he’d hope Waste Pro would come by and take it away because a year ago, no one knew when they would.
“Garbage was backing up. Not only were they not picking up the regular times. But when they did pick up, it was picking up half of what they were supposed to,” said Torna.
WINK News first met Torna back in 2021 when garbage was piling up in the streets of Cape Coral. Beds, furniture, and boxes were all waiting by the curb in front of his and many other homes.
Carol Newman didn’t appreciate the lack of service. “They would tell me between 24-48 hours they would pick it up then you would wait another week. And then they would miss that week too.”
Cape Coral City Council will vote on the settlement as part of its consent agenda on Wednesday. A city spokesperson said no one can talk about the agreement as it’s still considered pending litigation.
WINK News also reached out to Waste Pro and did not get a response.