Hillsborough County will be entertaining waste management options that will possibly reduce garbage pickup in New Tampa’s city and county communities from two days per week to only one.
That stinks, say many.
“I have not talked to one person that likes this idea,” says Mike Jacobson, the president of the Pebble Creek Homeowners Association. “I can’t even believe they’re considering it.”
Hillsborough County solid waste director Kim Byer says the decision isn’t based on how much trash is collected or how many residents actually leave their bins out on both days of pickups, but is purely a financial one that could produce savings for the county of up to 30 percent.
If those savings were significant, they could be passed on to customers, Byer says.
Currently, three companies —Republic Services of Florida, Waste Connections and Waste Management — together handle a $188-million contract to collect garbage, recyclables and yard clippings in Hillsborough County.
The County Commission will review new proposals this fall, and will vote on contractors for a new contract sometime before the end of November (which would go into effect in September 2020, Byer says).
“We say it’s the same garbage, just being picked up one day versus two,” she says.
Part of the process will include the results of an online poll that ended on August 5, which asked participants what they wanted from their waste management services.
More than 13,000 people had taken part in the survey at our press time. Byer says the majority were opposed to cutting weekly trash pickups in half.
District 2 County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who represents the New Tampa area, says it is far more than a majority of residents who are opposed, according to the emails his office has received.
“It’s 98 percent, maybe 99 percent, in support of maintaining twice a week pickups,” Hagan says, adding that he is not in favor of any options that include only once-a-week pickups.
“While once a week collection is definitely cheaper,” Hagan says, “I certainly do not believe it’s in the best interest of our residents and our neighborhoods.”
Because New Tampa is so community-oriented, with Homeowners Associations requiring that trash bins be kept from public view, meaning most likely in your garage.
And, with Florida’s blistering heat, the idea of trash being stored in those conditions for seven days isn’t appealing to most people.
“The concern I have is with no makeup day, and with the disproportionate number of (pickup) days falling on Mondays which are holidays, you could go 2-3 weeks between trash pickups,” says Scott Darby, the Arbor Greene HOA president.
Darby is so concerned that he says he has reached out to all seven commissioners, and only one response — from Hagan — has reflected steadfast opposition. He fears the decision already has been made.
Hagan is more positive, having been through this process three times.
“We’ll look at various proposals,” Hagan says, “and at the end of day, I’m confident we’ll remain with twice-a-week pickup.”