Trash Talk: City’s Bad Faith Price Hike Leaves a Stinky Trail

Summary: City leadership will be voting for a 59% increase to your trash service bill over two years even though Waste Pro will only receive an increase up to 4% this year, creating a $1 million slush fund

By Jesse Phillips, President
Winter Springs Community Association

Winter Springs residents are no strangers to paying their dues for trash collection. At $18.10 per month, it’s not exactly chump change. But here’s the real kicker: Waste Pro is the one doing all the heavy lifting, showing up twice a week for garbage duty and once a week to tackle recycling and yard waste, all while receiving a modest $16.13 per household. That leaves the city with a cool $1.97 per household profit, a chunk of change that adds up to nearly $300,000 annually. Much of this goes to Seminole County for processing fees.

Now, let’s peel back the layers on this whole trashy ordeal. At first glance, it appears the city wants to toss Waste Pro a 4% raise, just 65 cents extra per household, pushing their share to $16.78. Seems reasonable, right? After all, costs do go up, and Waste Pro’s folks have bills to pay too. But here’s where the plot thickens. As it turns out, Waste Pro came to the negotiation table in good faith because their contract expires in 2027, and their services are actually worth over $30 per month in today’s market. Their intention was to spare the city the sticker shock of going out to bid in 2027. However the city negotiated in bad faith, hiked up rates on residents while tossing Waste Pro a mere 65 cents, all in a maneuver to assemble an eyebrow-raising $1 million slush fund.

You see, instead of a modest 65-cent hike in your monthly bill, the city plans not just one, but two whopping 26% increases over the next two years (see schedule here) followed by 4% annual hikes until 2032. By then, you’ll be paying over twice what you are now for the same, albeit smellier, service.

What’s the big idea behind these eye-popping increases? Brace yourself for some charts which reveal a grand plan to pocket a cool million bucks off the backs of residents. And get this—it’s all for a trash service contract funds that won’t be needed for almost a decade.

Source: MSW Consultants Solid Waste Rate Study

Why on earth does the city want to amass a million-dollar slush fund for a service contract? It’s not like they’re building the Great Wall of Winter Springs; it’s just trash collection. Rainy day funds for a service contract are as useful as a snowblower on a sandy beach.

In these financially challenging times, it makes you wonder—what’s the sudden rush to squeeze extra cash out of us for a service we won’t even need for eight more years? This smells almost as bad as the sewage dump and the dead fish in the Highlands.

But the bigger question remains: What is this million-dollar trash service slush fund going to finance? The Seminole County Inspector General already busted city leadership for redirecting $10 million from the Penny Sales Tax, turning it into an unauthorized piggy bank. The State Auditor basically called it a breach of public trust. Are they going to spend our trash pickup dollars on more shiny upgrades to City Hall like they did with our Penny Sales Tax dollars earmarked to fix our roads and bridges?

Why do they need another million now? And what’s to stop them from playing the same shell game with these dollars? As the auditor discovered, the “clear will and intent of the voters” has about as much weight as a deflated balloon to our last city manager who skipped town and his buddies on the commission.

Bottom line: There’s something fishy in Winter Springs, and it’s not just the trash. There’s a lot of garbage in the decisions coming from City Hall.