Debris piles up in Pembroke Pines after Hurricane Irma

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - Piles of storm debris are being removed from neighborhoods across South Florida following Hurricane Irma. 

But in communities like Pembroke Pines, the removal just isn't fast enough.

"There's debris left behind. We work really hard to clean up after Irma, and now we have another situation," resident Linda Torlone said. 

Residents and representatives of homeowners associations gathered Monday for an emergency meeting with Pembroke Pines city leaders in hopes of finding solutions to the complicated issue.

Waste removal companies are accused of defying previously arranged contracts with cities and counties to do business elsewhere in higher-paying communities -- an old-fashioned, illegal game of price-gouging.

"We are not, according FEMA guidelines, allowed to re-negotiate our rates with our current hauler to increase rates, which puts us in a big disadvantage," Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge said.

Pembroke Pines has collected some 50,000 cubic yards of debris -- a drop in the bucket of what still remains in the city that stretches 24.5 square miles.

Ron Bergeron, who heads a waste management company with a standing contract in Pembroke Pines, said the company is one of just a few companies sticking with the original terms, despite lucrative offers to pull out.

"I've actually had probably 20 cities call me, and my response is, 'I have a certain amount of cities that I'm responsible to, and I don't have the resources to help you,'" Bergeron said.

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