Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough commissioners talk trash but take no action

TAMPA — After a 17-year commitment to the same three trash-collecting companies, Hillsborough County Commissioners have options to consider when contracts expire in 2013.

Competitive bids, by letting different companies apply. New industry developments, like trucks with automatic arms to dump bins. Cost-saving measures, like once-weekly garbage pickup instead of twice-weekly.

But at a Wednesday workshop to discuss one of the county's most basic services, county commissioners couldn't agree on much — not even the objective of the three-hour meeting or how to move forward.

"This is such a volatile issue," Commission Chairman Al Higginbotham said after the meeting. "I think the public had a higher expectation of the board, of this process."

The commissioners all clamored for lowering residents' costs while maintaining customer service. In the end they made a single decision, voting 4-3 to hold another workshop with public comment.

The county staff, working with solid-waste consultant Mitch Kessler, had recommended opening up contracts for competitive bidding or negotiating with qualified companies.

Three companies handle the county's garbage collection: Republic Services, Waste Management and Waste Services.

The contracts have been in place since 1996, the last time the county took bids for trash hauling services. Those contracts were extended, then in 2006 renegotiated for another seven-year term with a possible three-year renewal.

Higginbotham, along with commissioners Kevin Beckner and Mark Sharpe, supported allowing any interested companies to compete for contracts.

They expressed some concerns over a possibly bumpy transition to new collectors, citing customer complaints that arose after the 1996 bids. But Beckner said, "We owe it to our taxpayers and to our citizens to at least consider all the options that are out there."

Commissioners Victor Crist and Ken Hagan rebuffed them, favoring renegotiation with the three current companies for the best deal. They wanted to give those companies first consideration, they said, knowing the level of service they would provide.

Commissioners Les Miller and Sandy Murman were adamant against making any movement without public input.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Hillsborough commissioners talk trash but take no action 10/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement