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After a 4-1 vote by the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners at the County Commision meeting on Tuesday March 15th, the folks at WM (formerly Waste Management) will raise the cost of picking up trash and recycling for the Okaloosa County Franchise Area (which includes Bluewater Bay and unincorporated portions of Niceville Florida) by $3.33 per month.

The final price for trash pickup that customers will pay is almost $30 per month, which works out to a 12% increase for residents, starting on April First.

This isn’t the first increase the mid bay area has seen – WM raised the City of Niceville’s Prices in February by about 7%.

Initially, according to Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles, “They came in with a crazy and unreasonable 30% plus increase and walked away smiling with an extra 12% in their pocket. The rub here is that for citizens in the franchise area; you will now be paying an extra $3.33 a month to the world’s biggest trash company at a time when the cost of everything is on the rise at a record pace.”

Commissioner Boyles went on to explain in his regular newsletter, (which you can sign up for by emailing this address) that “a primary driver of expense in waste collection is disposal. Okaloosa County does not have a landfill. That means we have to pay to have the trash transferred onto semi-trucks and hauled all the way to Marianna for disposal… at a landfill owned by WM.”

Commissioner Boyles was the lone dissenting voice for giving the increase. He argued the commission and Okaloosa County Staff should have negotiated for a shorter contract to one or two years. In that intervening time period, he said that Okaloosa County staff should have looked for a way to offset the additional costs that come from not having a county-owned landfill. This lack of a county-owned facility leads WM to take trash to their facility in Marianna, Florida – at an additional cost. “[We should have] take[n] a serious look at new technologies for converting waste to energy,” Boyles said. “We effectively ignored a formal request from the Air Force to partner on efforts to make Hurlburt Field energy independent in the event of a disaster by using just such a technology.”

The Commission meets on the first and third Tuesdaystuesdays of the month at 0830. You can, if you are a glutton for punishment like we are, watch them live at this link. Or, you can get the recaps relevant to the mid bay area here on midbaynews.com!

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