Investigates: Jacksonville considers $4M in federal relief money to control yard waste pileup

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The city of Jacksonville is considering using $4 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars to help curb a growing yard waste problem.

The city currently has $171 million from the American Rescue Plan.

A bill, which was unanimously passed by the finance committee on Tuesday, would use part of the funds to control the waste pileup.

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In a statement to Action News Jax, the city confirmed, “We are working on several solutions to address the delays in solid waste pickup and as soon as we are ready to implement those solutions, we will utilize the funding for those services.”

Complaints have also piled up. The city received its largest number of complaints in August about yard waste woes.

  • April: 5,077
  • May: 4,793
  • June: 4,312
  • July: 8,361
  • August: 9,008

As of Sept. 15, the city received 4,328 complaints, which is on track to come close to August’s total.

The pileup is partially due to the nationwide labor shortage.

On Windridge Court in Mandarin, neighbors said yard waste pickup hasn’t come in about seven weeks.

“And it smells. It’s getting pretty nasty. It’s been out here for quite a while,” Sharon Klippstein said. “I’d like to see a refund first of all. We’ve been paying for months and not receiving the service we’re paying for.”

She submitted five complaints through the city’s website and reached out to Councilman Matt Carlucci, who said refunds or tax breaks are being discussed.

In an email response to Klippstein, Carlucci said, “My office has received hundreds and hundreds of responses, and I appreciate your continued patience as calls and emails are returned over the next few days. This situation is challenging our very best department heads and employees.”

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He also added that fee waivers at local landfills are being discussed for neighbors who choose to haul their own waste.

Advanced Disposal Services and Waste Pro racked up the most fines since problems began.

Waste Pro was fined $116,425 in July. Advanced Disposal Services faced $62,400 in fines in July.