There has been a standoff between the city of Miami and Miami-Dade county over the last thirty years. While it certainly doesn’t rival the great “fiscal cliff” of last year, it has been a persistent thorn in the city’s side. The Virginia Key landfill (an island off the coast of Miami) officially ended its operations in the 80’s, but was only covered in a partial layer of top soil. At the time, Miami-Dade county had set aside $45 million in bonds that was intended to be used to clean up the site and pave the way for new recreational facilities.

The only problem was that the city of Miami now had to find a new place to empty their dumpsters and waste bins. The city’s government looked towards nearby Broward county initially, which appealed to the council due to its cheaper hauling rates. Miami-Dade county officials preferred that Miami use its own waste disposal services, and so leveraged the $45 million in bonds to persuade the city. Miami officials would be on the hook for cleaning up the landfill if they passed on the county’s offer. But at the same time they wanted to make an economical choice in their new waste collection services. In the end, the city punted on the issue leaving future council members to make the decision.This impasse would last for the next thirty years and did not end until January of this year.

Officials of Miami-Dade county agreed to disperse the bonds in exchange for providing trash removal services for Miami. The new agreement might actually save the city money in the long-run thanks to Miami’s new recycling program. By some estimates, the city could see its trash disposal costs drop from $9 million to $7 million.

As for the Virginia Key landfill, it will eventually be covered in two feet of soil leftover from the Port Miami tunnel project. The tunnel dig will be providing nearly 400,000 cubic yards of dirt to help permanently seal the dump site. In addition, the county has put up $1 million to monitor the groundwater surrounding the site in order to gauge its effect on the local environment.

Source: Miami Herald