Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater delays once-a-week trash collection pilot program

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne heard from residents about the city’s door hangers.

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne heard from residents about the city’s door hangers.

CLEARWATER — After a flurry of angry calls, city officials have opted to delay a pilot program in the Morningside-Meadows and Countryside neighborhoods to reduce trash collection from twice weekly to once a week.

Originally slated to begin Jan. 1, the roughly 2,500 homes in Morningside and Countryside will continue to enjoy twice weekly trash pickups until the city can educate residents about the reasons behind the switch.

The city plans to blanket the neighborhoods with more informative door hangers and hold public meetings.

"I want us to prepare them in a more effective way," said City Manager Bill Horne.

A first round of door hangers went out before Christmas, but didn't lay out the city's case effectively, Horne said.

"The door hanger didn't provide the rationale for what we want to do," he said.

The hangers did prompt about 20 calls to the city's Solid Waste and General Services Department, said director Earl Gloster.

"That would be considered high. The callers were almost unanimously opposed," Gloster said.

Horne received several calls as well, including one man who was so verbally abusive, the veteran city manager hung up the phone, something he said he's done only two or three times in 15 years.

Most of the callers made the argument that if their service is being cut in half, then their bill should be halved as well.

A St. Augustine consulting firm is performing a new rate study, which should be ready by April. But it's too early to tell whether rates will rise or fall, Gloster said.

City officials say the rationale for scaling back trash collection is that it would save the city and residents money, especially in light of the debut of single-stream recycling in October.

Bigger recycling cans and more items able to be recycled — like cardboard, glass and more types of plastic — have reduced the trash in barrels around the city, according to anecdotal evidence. But the six-month pilot, now scheduled to begin in March, will give city officials the hard data to back up their hunch.

If all goes well, once-a-week collection could spread citywide if the City Council approves it.

But the pilot program isn't a soft launch of an already-decided plan, Horne said.

"We've not made the decision to go to once a week. That's the whole purpose of the pilot," Horne said.

Sarasota, Safety Harbor and Key West have made the switch, but Clearwater would likely be the largest city in the state to adopt the change, Gloster said.

No estimates have been made yet about how much the move would save the city, although less fuel, labor and wear and tear on garbage trucks would suggest some savings.

City Council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito said the city should emphasize the "green" aspects of reducing collections. And she's willing to take the political blowback for being the first of Tampa Bay's large cities to scale back.

"Sometimes change depends on who wants to get their hand wet first," she said. "I believe the department has done a fine job. They've done their homework and I trust that."

Public meetings will be held in both neighborhoods after the holidays. Homeowners associations in both Countryside and Morningside have already been briefed, but not everyone attends those meetings, Horne said. The city will also send out another round of more detailed door hangers.

"This is a significant change," he said.

Charlie Frago can be reached at or (727) 445-4159. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieFrago.

Clearwater delays once-a-week trash collection pilot program 12/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 27, 2013 6:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'


    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco


    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game


    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?


    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]