Hillsborough County Invites Residents To Talk Trash Collection

By Tamas Mondovics

With the way garbage, recyclables and yard waste are collected in unincorporated Hillsborough County may be changing next year, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners have arranged to host five public meetings, to help residents understand service options and fees as well as voice their thoughts.

“The BOCC wants to know what residents think about the new garbage collection options,” said Willie Puz with the County Communication and Digital Services.“ Each public meeting is broadcast live over the internet, so residents who can’t attend in person may log in and comment through live chat. A video will also be posted on the Talk Trash Web page.”

The current solid waste contracts were put in place almost 15 years ago, within three distinct collection districts. Puz said that while these contracts have been extended and renegotiated once during this time, the service levels, collection methods, and franchise haulers remained unchanged.

With the current contracts expiring in September 2013, Hillsborough County has asked for bids on four residential collection service options for garbage, recyclables, and yard waste.

The options include the current 2-1-1 (household garbage to be collected twice a week in customer-provided containers; customers to sort recyclables into County-provided green and blue bins for collection once a week; and yard waste to be collected once a week in customer-provided containers and/or bundles) manual collection service.

Options two and  three may be referred to as 2-1-1 and 1-1-1 automated collection service respectably as well as the fourth option; a 1-½ -1 automated collection service, where household garbage to be collected once a week in hauler-provided roll carts; recyclables to be collected every other week in hauler-provided roll carts, and yard waste to be collected once a week in customer-provided containers and/or bundles.

At the first meeting, close to 70 SouthShore residents attended, with Hillsborough County Public Utilities Director John Lyons presenting the county’s proposal followed by a question and answer session.

Concern over cost, size of the new automated containers, which include 95, 65, 35 and 32 gallon cans, as well as other issues like the need to better understand recycling, were also addressed by residents probing County officials for answers.

“I am totally opposed to any changes,” said Sun City center resident Richard Conti. “The size and weight of the cans to be used for the automated options will be too much for our older residents to handle. Our garages are also small, while the cans are huge and will take up too much space.”

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners will take public comments, service options and their prices into consideration in a Board workshop on Thursday, January 10, before awarding service contracts.

More details are available at www.HillsboroughCounty.org/TalkTrash.