BRUNSWICK — Brunswick officials said they’re working with Republic Services to get a refund for residents after most went without trash pickup for a week.
“Republic said they would provide a service, but it was late,” Councilman Michael Abella, 1st Ward, said during a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting Monday with other Council members.
Republic Services has a contract with the city to provide trash collection. Any refund would be granted to the city and dispersed to residents by the city.
Abella said the city should pay back the refund in full to residents even if the city isn’t reimbursed for the total cost of a week of garbage collection.
“I know we can use this money elsewhere, but I think we need to do the right thing because this was a huge failure,” Abella said.
The mood of the meeting became heated when Councilman Vince Carl, 2nd Ward, said he agreed that residents should be reimbursed, but only up to the amount the city gets from Republic Services. He argued that money shouldn’t be taken from the city’s general fund to cover the refunds.
“Where are we going to get the money? Where else in the budget are we going to take it from?” Carl said.
Many Council members said they received rightfully angry calls from residents when garbage sat on city streets this week without pickup, Councilwoman Pat Hanek, at-large, said.
She said the city gave residents the phone number for Republic Services’ customer service for direct responses to specific questions and Republic Services advised residents to ask for their refunds from the city of Brunswick.
“We don’t make any money on garbage collection,” Hanek said. “We pass it on to residents, but I think that created some confusion.”
Council members agreed to hold off on deciding how residents will be reimbursed until after City Manager Jim Lukas meets with representatives from Republic Services.
Councilman At-large Brian Ousley offered a warning to Republic Services and he asked Lukas to pass along his comments at negotiations.
“They should be giving us the full refund, or we won’t be looking at them next time we renew a contract,” Ousley said.
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