New Recycling Deal Could Cost Niceville More or Less – Depending on Residents

In a recent city council meeting in Niceville, various topics were discussed and approved, ranging from a new recycling agreement with Waste Management to police statistics, upcoming events like the Veterans Day parade, installation of a historical marker, and proclamations recognizing Military Appreciation Month, Professional Municipal Clerk's Week, and acknowledgment from the State Legislature."

In Brief:

  • Niceville city council approves new recycling deal with Waste Management, discusses police statistics, and announces upcoming events.
  • City council greenlights first-ever Niceville Veterans Day parade and plans for a historical marker at Edge Elementary School.
  • Mayor Henkel reads proclamations for Military Appreciation Month, Professional Municipal Clerk’s Week, and acknowledges City Councilman Bill Schaetzle’s recognition from the State Legislature.

Table of Contents

Niceville’s city council meeting was one of the more wild events held in the city hall in the last couple of years – it had some controversial moments: A couple of statements from Niceville activists Cara and Craig Marion about Councilman Doug Stauffer’s personal conduct raised eyebrows and a rally by firefighters supporting a recently fired Battalion Chief saw several dozen supporters fill the chamber

Those stories are coming soon to midbaynews.comWe will have them up soon!  

In the meantime – here are some of the other updates coming out of the city council meeting:

Everything from a new recycling regime that could save (or cost) residents of Niceville in the long run to the regular police stats and even a new parade in city limits got discussed and approved. 

We recap it all here so you don’t have to sit and listen to the two-hour meeting like we did. 


After Some Discussion About Price, City Pens Deal With Waste Management (WM) To Use Company’s Brand-New Recycling Facility in Fort Walton Beach

After extensive discussion, the city of Niceville signed a deal with WM to use its brand-new materials reclamation facility in Fort Walton Beach for recycling in the city

The company said its new facility would dramatically lower the costs of recycling the city by eliminating transportation fees to the ECUA Facility in Cantonment, Florida. Currently, the town pays WM about $90 to take its recyclables.

This price would reduce to about $77 per ton with the new facility for the first six months of the agreement. 

There are some caveats, though. WM reported Niceville residents had a 38% contamination rate in their recyclables. This number – and the required drop-off to avoid penalties – concerned City Councilwoman Cathy Alley. “Nationally, across the United States, curbside recycling can vary anywhere from 10% to 20% [contamination],” Conor McNeil, a representative with WM, told the council. While the company gives a grace period for the first six months, this very high rate will not impact the bottom line. But, after six months, the company will start charging the city a fee based on how much (over 25% for the next six months and reducing further from there) excess contamination is in the recyclables. This cost could easily make the price of recycling shoot up rapidly. 

The WM representatives at the meeting added that they could use cameras in the back of their recycling trucks to determine where the most significant amount of contamination (by individual homes) came from and help target those members with information to encourage them to recycle property. 

“Twenty percent of people always recycle correctly, no matter what. Twenty percent of people recycle incorrectly, no matter what,” McNeil said as he discussed the importance of getting good recycling information to the 60 percent still on the table. 

They added that the two biggest culprits in recyclable contamination are thin plastic bags, like the ones distributed at grocery stores, and food. 

The city council agreed to a variable rate considering the price of materials recovered on the open market. After six months, WM will charge the city $125 per ton of recyclables – and reduce that rate based on how much money WM can sell the recyclables for on the open market. 

The WM team told the council that they would take part in an exhaustive public relations campaign to ensure the word got out about what could and can’t be recycled at this new facility. 

“We haven’t developed the exact plan yet because we wanted to do it through this step first,” said WM representative Michael Beedie, “public service announcements going on radio, going in front of community groups, like the [Niceville] Chamber and some of the your rotary clubs or coladas clubs, having public meetings, maybe town halls, doing things like that, and then hitting social media hard.”

Police Captain Gives Monthly Statistics

Interim Police Chief Rob Lovering was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting – so his second in command, Captain Joe Whitfield took the reins and gave numbers to the council.

He told the council that in April, the Department had 2412 calls for service (far less than average for the last two years), 47 traffic accidents, 204 citations for traffic infractions, and 365 warnings. 

The small increase of about 20 citations from March came from an end-of-the-month traffic enforcement campaign that netted 77 citations for breaking traffic law.

The Department made 12 misdemeanor and eight felony arrests during the month – as well as two DUIs. 

City Manager David Deitch noted that the application period for the role of police chief ends on May 17. 

RELATED: Niceville Police Chief David Popwell Retires

Veterans Day Green Lit For November

Mayor Daniel Henkel announced the first-ever Niceville Veterans Day Parde will take place on November 9, 2024. The event, spearheaded by Niceville Public Information Officer Shannettra Francis will go along the same route as the annual Christmas Parade. 

The city unanimously voted to shut down John Sims Parkway on that day and take control of routing traffic  at the May meeting , marking the final procedural hurdle to jump through before the plan could become a reality.  

Fourth Historical Marker Coming to Niceville

“Official unofficial historian of Niceville,” Elisa Mitchener told the Niceville City Council that the city’s fourth historical marker would soon have a home in front of Edge Elementary School. 

The building was formerly the home of Niceville High School until the school board ordered the construction of the current campus in the 1960s. 

Mitchiner says the marker will be delivered by the 16th and plans to work with Edge Elementary School principal Melissa Kearley to organize a ceremony for its installation. 

RELATED: Fourth Niceville Marker Planned for Edge Elementary. Here’s The Backstory Behind It. 

This Month’s Proclamations

Mayor Henkel read out three documents at the council meeting in May. 

    1. Military Appreciation Month—Mayor Henkel declared May Military Appreciation Month in the city of Niceville. Henkel, a retired Air Force Colonel and current civil servant, said, ” For generations, the freedom and security enjoyed by the citizens of the United States are a direct result of the continued vigilance and Service of the United States Armed Forces over the history of our great nation.”
    2. 55th Annual Professional Municipal Clerk’s Week – Henkel highlighted City Clerk Dan Doucet and Deputy City Clerks Wendy Farmer and Steve Rausch to celebrate municipal clerks’ work to keep records organized and help citizens in the community. 
    3. Note From The State Legislature – Henkel also read an attaboy from State Representative Dan Daly to City Councilman Bill Schaetzle for acting as a ‘Home Rule Hero’ in the 2024 legislative session.  
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