With Republic contract in place in December, county begins considering trash collection options

The garbage is on the table again. Well, not literally.

With the contract between Hernando County and Republic Services expiring on December 31, 2025, the BOCC discussed options on how to proceed to secure garbage collection services. Hernando County Director of Utilities Gordon Onderdonk presented information on the matter. This presentation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on April 26, 2022 was for information and discussion purposes, and no decision was made that day.

This discussion is the first on the subject. Commissioner Wayne Dukes asked during the meeting that since the initial issues were resolved by the Republic, why would the county be “starting from scratch.” “Unless something really jumps out and bites us at Republic, why would we try to start all over again with someone we don’t know? »

Chairman Steve Champion replied, “Anyway, we’re getting some sort of offer. I think the public is going to want that. When those offers come in, and they’re astronomical, we can say that (the lowest offer) is the best offer…I’m confident that Republic will be the lowest anyway.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) will be a sealed bidding process where none of the bidding companies will know of the competing proposals.

County Administrator Jeff Rogers summarized that decisions will need to be made regarding mandatory areas and service level agreements before renegotiating Republic’s contract or issuing requests for proposals.

Onderdonk reported that the cost of garbage collection is rising nationwide. Currently, residents of the universal or mandatory zone pay $14.23 per month, and subscription or non-mandatory zones pay $14.47 per month. These rates are expected to increase based on service provider and other contractual specifications. Residents of Hernando County pay lower rates than neighboring counties. Citrus County residents currently pay $39.91. Pasco’s rate is $16.81.

price comparisons

The mandatory area is currently bordered by SR 50 to the north, County Line Road to the south, Commercial Way/Route 19 to the west, and portions of Anderson Snow Road to the east. The council is discussing expanding this area to potentially include Royal Highlands, Hernando Beach and areas east of the Brooksville town limits. Commissioners also discussed including requiring mandatory service for any property zoned residential or having a small lot size.

City of Brooksville residents pay $19.53 per month. Champion added later in the meeting that Citrus County’s high price is due to the multiple vendors serving the county.

Residents of Hernando County currently have their trash picked up twice a week, and their wheeled trash cart and two recycling bins are provided by Republic. Recycling is collected once a week. Garden waste is collected one day every two weeks. Additionally, county residents are allowed four bulk items per year, such as furniture. Onderdonk questioned whether this level of service should be increased or decreased.

The yard waste collection schedule created confusion as to which weeks were collection weeks. This has led to an increase in “missed pickup” reports and has also been erroneously reported as missed litter pickup reports. Onderdonk reported that the confusion created customer dissatisfaction and resulted in yard waste being left curbside for long periods of time.

If curbside yard waste service is eliminated, the increased use of convenience stores will increase transportation costs to the landfill and add $250,000 per year for disposal, a increase of about 50%. The West Hernando Convenience Center is currently over capacity.

The blue carts used in the mandatory areas are currently owned by the county, so if another transport company were to be contracted, residents are expected to use the same containers. “So this won’t be the debacle it was last time,” Commissioner John Allocco commented, referring to initial delivery issues for county-owned containers in 2019.

However, in subscription areas, carts are the property of Republic Services.
Republic currently has four franchise collecting districts in the county. More households per district translates into a lower cost of service.

mandatory area

Allocco looked at the number of new housing developments coming to the county, wondering how those homes would be serviced. “That’s concerning when we have big developments coming, when they’re in a subscription district, that’s a significant issue when you’re dealing with density.” He went on to say that it will be important that these types of developments are considered based on lot size rather than development density.

Champion said, “Worst neighborhoods in the county for code (violations) – all are subscriptions. All have garbage in the yard…these lots are 5000 square feet, they are tiny and they have no mandatory garbage (collection). Champion added that a residential neighborhood with lots smaller than an acre should have mandatory garbage collection.

Consideration should also be given to the number of collection districts in the county. Currently, the entire county is a Republic Covered District. The advantage of having a district is lower cost, however, only one carrier covers the county. More districts would allow for more carriers, but at an additional cost.

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