Delinquent Accounts Could Spur Rate Increase Request from GFL

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 11, 2023 at 5:08pm

The rate for trash pick-up in the City of Jacksonville could be changing- again.

Jacksonville City Clerk Skip Bradshaw updated the City Council last night after a recent meeting with GFL management over ongoing complaints by residents.

Bradshaw said during the meeting, GFL representatives provided the city with a list of 752 residential addresses that have received service but not paid their 1st quarter bill.

The representatives said now that the second quarter billing is going out, those 752 accounts will be suspended and GFL will remove their trash and recycle carts until the bill is paid or eventually sent to collections.

Bradshaw says however, there are potentially a few discrepancies on that list. “Probably an awful lot of them, I found two myself. One is an empty lot and one is a house that was sold back in September and they were sending a bill to the old owner. How many of those that are out there of the 752 we don’t know, but that’s the list that they gave me.”

Regardless of discrepancies, the decrease in active accounts means GFL intends to approach the city to renegotiate the quarterly charge and increase the price of trash service, which he says is something they have the right to do per the contract.

In our contract, we negotiated a percentage of decrease in customers. They anticipated about five thousand, actually about fifty-two hundred. They were basing everything off of five thousand and we put a ten percent decrease in there before they could come back and renegotiate with the city.

Right now we’re at thirty-eight hundred, so that’s significantly less than the forty-five hundred, but when you add in the seven hundred and fifty-two, we’re back up to forty-six hundred. So that’s where the problem lies. The Problem lies with the seven hundred and fifty-two people that have been getting service for the last quarter and have not paid.”

In October, the city council approved the contract with GFL that would lock in the price at $17.29 per quarter. GFL then came back to the city in December and negotiated an increase of $1.66 per month after representatives said they found approximately 1,000 fewer active addresses than the city stated in the contract.

Bradshaw says some of the issues in the number of residential customers lie in how the company differentiates between residential and commercial accounts. “The way I understand it, if your landlord is paying your bill through your rent, it’s considered a commercial account even though they are picking up at your residence and a lot of trailer courts and things like that, that’s the way they are paid, but [each address] has a trash container to pick up for trash. But it is considered a commercial account, which we weren’t aware of when we told them there were six thousand residential water customers in the City of Jacksonville.”

Bradshaw says the one bright spot in the meeting with GFL was the company representatives acknowledged the slow response time its customer service has been providing and is working to increase available help center personnel.

GFL says the call volume has dropped dramatically over the last month so wait times are much less. Bradshaw says the day of the meeting he called and waited 12 minutes but was able to get through, which was better than reports of 30 and even 60-minute wait times.

Bradshaw also reminds the public that his office is no longer fielding calls for GFL and that those should be directed to the company itself.