Broward News

Palm Beach County Closer to Importing Trash for Money

Palm Beach County is a dump.

Or, at least, it's going to be, after county commissioners voted 4-3 vote to seek bids from waste haulers from all parts outside of Palm Beach just so they can land some big money for a new incinerator.

The commissioners argue that the money would give trash revenues a lift so they can lower trash-disposal bills for Palm Beach County residents and businesses.

Naturally, there's been some backlash.

The public is, of course, concerned that Palm Beach County will basically be one massive landfill once garbage starts coming in from other parts of the state.

The vice mayor of Lake Clarke Shores, Bob Shalhoub, told the Palm Beach Post he has the perfect new slogan for the county should this thing go down.

"Palm Beach County: Host to waste that other counties don't want,'' he said.

Already, Broward and Miami-Dade counties have shown interest in bringing their garbage over, according to the Sun Sentinel.

But the garbage would also come from outside of Florida too. A Georgia-based pharmaceutical company wants to dump both discarded human and animal medication in Palm Beach County. We're no experts, but that stuff doesn't seem terribly biodegradable.

The Solid Waste Authority board, which is made up of county commissioners, started seeking potential parties interested in hauling their trash on over for some cash back in August of last year.

The idea stemmed from helping to make money off the county's brand-spanking-new trash incinerator, which is expected to start working in 2015.

The $600 million incinerator is billed as a waste-to-energy trash burner that could help save the people money.

According to the Solid Waste Authority agenda package, welcoming trash from outside the county can make Palm Beach about $45 million in the first eight years the incinerator is operational.

Extra income from importing trash could lower trash fees on local homes by $5 to $10 a year, according to the Solid Waste Authority.

But folks like Palm Beach Gardens City Councilman Dan Levy have expressed major concerns from the get-go.

"The citizens of Palm Beach County are the ones that floated the bill for this [incinerator]," Levy said, via the Sentinel. "I'm not really comfortable with the idea of other people paying less money than we do."

"It helps us raise quite a bit of money," County Mayor Priscilla Taylor said. "If it's not going to affect us negatively, then why not?"

The Solid Waste Authority decided to build the new incinerator as an alternative to building a new landfill.

Board Agenda Package April 2014

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph