Seven years ago, then-Newberry fire chief David Rodriguez signed an agreement with Stericycle to collect medical waste such as syringes, scalpel blades, contaminated gloves and more.
In 2009, the cost per pick-up was $82, but by June 2015, it ballooned to $417.52, according to the city. The new fire chief, Ben Buckner, was concerned about the cost and last summer attempted to renegotiate. By then, the Illinois-based Stericycle had stopped responding.
In the months since, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi used the state’s False Claims Act to negotiate a $3.5 million settlement for local governments and agencies statewide.
Newberry’s cut: $7,232.58.
The city will decide Monday night whether to accept that amount or litigate its own settlement. The city commission must deposit the check by Feb. 29 or it forfeits its right to the settlement.
Besides Newberry, a range of other North Central Florida governments are to receive money from Stericycle. They include Alachua County, Dixie County, Citrus County, Gilchrist County, Suwannee County Schools, Bradford County Hernando County and others, according to state records.