Pinellas greenlights garbage pickup franchise
CLEARWATER -- Despite opposition from a crowd of 50 resident and haulers, the Pinellas County Commission voted 4-3 to start the process of adding mandatory trash pickup.
Under the plan, the county would contract with haulers to pickup garbage in neighborhoods in unincorporated Pinellas starting in January 2013. Tuesday night's vote started a three-year wait mandated in state law before the county can replace haulers already operating.
It would cost homeowners $15 to $20 a month. The potential increase and loss of control over pickup spurred an outcry among smaller haulers and residents.
"We want . to make our own decisions on which company to hire based on the quality of service and the cost," said Betty Bootier, a resident of unincorporated Seminole.
Commissioners Nancy Bostock, Calvin Harris, Karen Seel and Ken Welch voted for the service. Neil Brickfield, Susan Latvala and John Morroni voted against it in an unusually tight vote.
Morroni and Latvala said there wasn't compelling reason to add another layer of bureacracy. Harris said it would be good for the community, adding a standard level of quality for services.
The county still has to pass an ordinance allowing the change and approve bids in the next few years. Bostock said it was important to start the process, but her support wasn't ironclad if costs and services don't pan out the way county staffers explained them.
"I'll be the first one to say, if we can't do it, to turn this thing around," Bostock said.
David DeCamp, Times staff writer