Hallandale Beach PAL & Sanitation In The Spotlight

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

March 17, 2022

Well, it seems Baseball Season is now in full swing. I know you’re thinking nationally, but I mean here in our City. After building a State-Of-The-Art Ball Field Complex, COVID-19 put a damper on our ability to play ball. The Director of our Police Athletic and Activities League Jonathan Carrillo, the PAL board and many parent volunteers recently put together a wonderful event. In addition to having beautiful weather, the event was co-sponsored by the Florida Marlins and Bally’s Sports.

Billy the Marlin and their staff joined me in throwing the first ball. They also donated baseballs, gloves, bats and other equipment to make sure every play had what they needed to play. Billy and I also hit a few balls in the batting cage. I say a few, as I was rusty. I simply love baseball and played softball years ago. It was great to see all of the boys and girls out having a great time.

On behalf of the City, I want to thank PAL, Code Ninjas, Kalos Music and Art School, Kona Ice, Aventura Hospital, Ms. Mold, Proball Sports, Inc., Blue Grapes Boutique, Top Golf North Miami and the Cross Church for their sponsorship and donations. These angels help so many kids grow up with sports and activities that they normally would be unable to afford.

Last week, City Manager Dr. Earle requested that the City Commission conduct a workshop to discuss our Sanitation Department and the future of our Infrastructure. The workshop will be held in person at City Hall starting at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022.

I want to tackle the Sanitation topic first and next week, I will review our Infrastructure. For many years, Hallandale Beach has been on the forefront of independence and has a proactive approach to Solid Waste Management. Over 25 years ago, we were one of 5 cities that went into a Commingled Recycling Program. The system was modeled after plants that were built in Sweden and had started to pop up around the U.S. The move to this type of Solid Waste Control, led to an Automated Trash Truck that used bins, today we have a Trash Truck that utilizes automated arms.

Streamlining the trucks cut the need for three manned trucks and more importantly, it cut down on employee injuries. Solid Waste was divided into two bins. Green Trash Bins held Non-Recycled Trash and all Commingled were placed in Recyclable Green Bins. Two different Trash Trucks would pick up the Trash Bins.

Originally, this system was planned for one of each bin per household and once a week pickup. At the same time, I had just moved into Hallandale Beach with two little children. One in diapers. The once a week pickup truly did not work and that was when I got involved with trash. I worked with then Mayor Eudyce Steinberg and the City to add twice a week options and the ability to have two bins or smaller bins for our seniors.

Trash was taken to a plant in Pembroke Pines and sorted. It was an excellent way of disposal. Recyclable Plastic, Glass and Metals were pulled and Non-Recyclables were set to be composted. There was one major issue with the plant and in my opinion, is what eventually set it up for failure. The plant did not include the equipment to macerate and turn composting into fuel pellets. This meant that the trash was composted in a large warehouse that smelled, even though there were filtering vents.

As Pembroke Pines grew, developers built closer and closer to the plant. Obviously residents complained about the plant. The land the plant sat on grew in value and the Waste Management bought the plant. The company stopped Recycling the compost which included paper. The cities sued in a long litigation. Four of the cities dropped out and contracted with the County aka Waste Management. We held out and won over $500,000. The problem then became where to send our trash. We kept our Trash Trucks and pick up system but then had to contract with other disposal sites.

Fast forward to today and we are one of the few cities that still have our own trucks and employees. Broward County is working with the cities on a Solid Waste Plan. There are hopes that we will have an Independent District comprised of all cities. Sadly, there is no Recycling taking place within the system and to me, this is a huge problem. The County System is comprised of the waste to energy plants and landfills. After years being involved in this issue, trash to energy is the way to go. There will eventually be a place for Recycling. The current problem is there is no market, we are wasting resources and money just to feel good.

Back in 2017-18 there was a push by the commission to privatize almost everything. In the beginning this always sounds great but in the long run if you go to other cities and ask, the contracts escalate while the city does not control the service nor customer service. With cities the buck stops with the commission and we are the ones left holding the bag for simply a one-time payout and/or a franchise dollar. The City did this with The BSO and now we are paying over $1.2 Million for the same services we would have had, if we managed it ourselves.

As with everything the devil is in the details. I am truly looking forward to the workshop. I have always believed that as a government we are not a “for profit business” but a “public service business.” We do not want to lose or waste money, so with the right employees and management, we should be able to provide the same level of service, if not at a lower cost. I do encourage everyone to get involved with this issue.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by phone or text at: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org Or visit my Facebook and Web-Site At: http://www.mayorjoycooper.com/