Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

Expansion of mandatory garbage collection zones to be discussed

BROOKSVILLE — An expansion of the boundaries of the mandatory garbage collection zone in Spring Hill is in the works, and county commissioners will be presented Tuesday with several options.

When Republic Services took over countywide garbage collection in January 2012, one problem surfaced rather quickly.

In the more than two decades since trash collection was mandated in parts of Spring Hill by a vote of residents, subdivisions have grown, leaving some residents outside the mandatory zone.

In some cases, subdivisions are divided, with mandatory collection in some areas and voluntary collection in others. It was a big problem for Republic, which already was struggling because it was not provided with customer lists by the previous garbage haulers.

County staffers have brought the commission a number of options for redrawing the boundaries.

At the very least, the commission should consider rounding off the edges of the mandatory collection area to include entire subdivisions, said Susan Goebel-Canning, the county's environmental services director.

That area is largely a swath of land north of Powell Road, west of Barclay Avenue, east of the existing mandatory boundary and south of Cortez Boulevard.

The other areas commissioners can consider adding would move the mandatory zone east to U.S. 41 and west of U.S. 19 to the coast, including all residential addresses from County Line Road north to Weeki Wachee and Pine Island.

Other maps show additional areas countywide where there are aggregations of residential properties in subdivisions or in groupings of lots smaller than an acre.

Goebel-Canning said she wanted to show commissioners the areas where mandatory collection could be enacted and give them a choice.

Choosing the boundaries is crucial because they will be used as commissioners discuss whether Republic Services will continue to bill customers quarterly or whether the county should put the cost on property tax bills.

Property owners already pay for the cost of operating the landfill through a solid waste assessment on tax bills.

Goebel-Canning said the boundaries established for the mandatory zone will be the same as those used for any switch in the payment method. Allowing residents to opt in or out of a payment method if they live outside the mandatory zone would be too confusing, she said.

Because billing for trash collection on the tax bill would be a big help to Republic Services, county officials would hope to get the company to collect yard waste more frequently, providing the service every week rather than every two weeks, without increasing the cost.

Residents continue to complain that, in some areas and under some circumstances, collection of yard waste every two weeks is not frequent enough and also can be confusing.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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