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Polk County declares local state of emergency as trash collection delays worsen

Posted at 6:53 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 08:46:42-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County Commissioners have declared a local state of emergency to fix an ongoing trash removal issue.

For months County Commissioners have been receiving complaints from residents living on the west side of the county, about their trash not being picked up.

“They’re sitting out there for three to four days in some instances. That happened just this past week where it was out all weekend. And they picked it up on Monday because our trash pick-up day is on Friday, so it’s pretty frustrating,” said Aaron Jones.

In December alone commissioners received more than 1,700 complaints. Last month commissioners told FCC Environmental Services, its trash collection contractor, they had 30 days to clean up their act, and FCC did.

“We told them we were very pleased with the progress, and we hope to see less numbers appearing. well after that it was like the bottoms fell out,” said Martha Santiago, Polk County Commission Chairwoman.

Santiago said FCC Environmental is back to its old ways. Jones filed a complaint this week because his recycling still has not been collected.

“I looked it up and Monday is still our day and it’s Tuesday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and people still haven’t come. So I put in a complaint,” Jones said.

Tuesday commissioners voted unanimously to declare a local state of emergency. This gives the county manager the authority to make decisions that result in an immediate solution.

“Yesterday at our board meeting, we got to the point where we said enough, is enough,” Santiago said.

Solutions being discussed are hiring more workers and renting equipment.

“They pay taxes for this. Not only is it a health issue but it's also important for us to fix this situation as soon as possible,” Santiago said.

FCC recently signed a contract with Hillsborough County to pick up trash there.

FCC did not respond to a request for comment for this story.