DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami-Dade official who resigned from his position said he chose to step down due to the county’s growing trash placement problem.

A February fire at a renewable energy plant in Doral added fuel to the flames when it comes to Miami-Dade’s waste management dilemma.

With no long-term solution in place, Mike Fernandez, the director of the Miami-Dade County Public Works and Waste Management Department, stepped down.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Raquel Regalado reacted on Wednesday to Fernandez’s decision.

“I think Mike resigned because he’s been beating the drum for two years to an administration that doesn’t want to listen,” she said.

Regalado said it’s up to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to bring an already prepared master plan to the commission. They’re still waiting.

No action has thus far been taken on a plan that includes expanding landfills and building a new incinerator.

“Every single day that we don’t make a decision, this gets worse,” said Regalado. “It gets more expensive, and it gets more complicated.”

In his resignation letter, Fernandez begins with, “It is with heavy heart that I submit my resignation.”

He goes on to recount accomplishments and progress during his 15 years with the county. He wraps up the letter with, “Although much has been accomplished, there is still much more that needs to be done.”

Fernandez explains that the massive February fire that shut down the incineration facility in Doral has created an even more urgent need to plan for the future of waste disposal. He warns that in 2024, “The County will have to issue a moratorium to stop all development in Miami-Dade County or initiate the plans that were suggested in the past.”

“The county needs to manage waste differently,” said Selma Garcia with the community activist group Florida Rising.

Members of Florida Rising said they want the county to take the opportunity to move away from burning trash.

“Zero waste, which involves reduction, reusing and recycling waste,” said Garcia.

Whatever the path forward, Regalado said, there needs to be a decision, and there’s no time to waste.

“At the rate that we’re going, without the incinerator, we’ll run out of space in a year and a half,” she said. “Every day that goes by that we don’t make a decision, not making a decision is a decision, and it will lead to a paralysis in terms of building.”

Miami-Dade Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morales issued a statement on Wednesday. It reads in part, “This administration is keenly aware of the complex challenges our community faces around solid waste management and disposal, which were significantly exacerbated by the fire at the waste-to-energy plant earlier this year.”

Morales goes on to explain that Levine Cava has worked with the private and public sectors on a plan, stating, “This plan is meant to prioritize sustainability and zero waste initiatives that both reduce our carbon footprint and save taxpayers’ money in the long term.”

Levine Cava on Wednesday announced the appointment of Olga Espinosa-Anderson, Miami-Dade Public Works and Waste Management’s deputy director, as the department’s new interim director. Officials said Espinosa-Anderson brings with her 35 years of experience with the county.

The search for a permanent replacement for Fernandez is currently underway.

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