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Ron Bergeron Wants to Be Your Garbage Man

It's a strange battle that pitches Ron Bergeron as the underdog, but there's nothing that isn't strange about trash in South Florida. Debates about what to do with the stuff have raged for decades, and the main player has been Wayne Huizenga's mutant offspring, Wheelabrator Technologies, which does trash hauling for most of Broward County.

Twenty-six of Broward's 31 cities pay Wheelabrator, a division of Waste Management, $57 a ton to burn trash or bury it under one of Broward's two lovely trash piles. 

Now Sun Bergeron, a startup enterprise formed by a merger between Bergeron's company and Sun Recycling, has nabbed a deal with Miramar to recycle 25 percent of the city's trash and either burn or bury the rest for $45.25 a ton. After a long bidding process injected with rumors of backroom dealing and foul play, the city has selected that low bid. State law now allows for Sun Bergeron to service other Broward cities at the same price. 

Bergeron, long a tycoon of rock mining, land-draining, woods-clearing, and road-building, has recently been branching out to other endeavors. He's recently made overtures to entering the pari-mutuel gambling business (that bid is currently at a standstill). 

Broward Bulldog has been following the saga and has an update on what this will mean for Broward County. From the story:

Wheelabrator has since the 1980s held a lock on trash disposal in 80 percent of Broward cities with a contract that is due to expire in July 2013.

Wanting to continue its monopoly, the company two years ago offered a no-bid deal that would have extended its control of the disposal business through at least 2023. But a number of cities, including Fort Lauderdale and Miramar rejected the deal as insufficient and anti-competitive, and the county commission ultimately did, too.

The failure of the deal dealt a heavy blow to Broward's Resource Recovery Board, which has pushed hard for it.

The South Florida Business Journal, which ran a friendly profile of Bergeron in 2000, also has a piece on the decision, not failing to note Bergeron's penchant for "colorful cowboy garb." 

It's a sad-but-true fact that any semblance of a democratic bidding process in trash hauling is stupefying news here in Broward, even though the low bidder is one of the area's most powerful tycoons. We would have liked to see the issue decided by a gator-wrestling match between former Waste Management honcho Huizenga and Alligator Ron himself, but it looks like Miramar's projected savings of $4.5 million will have to do.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph

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