Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In Oldsmar, garbage complaints pile up

Council member Jerry Beverland can relate to residents’ frustration with garbage collection.

Council member Jerry Beverland can relate to residents’ frustration with garbage collection.

OLDSMAR — City leaders are asking Republic Services, Oldsmar's garbage collector, to help can all the trash talk.

Since the beginning of October, the city's utility billing department has received more than 175 calls from residents complaining about shoddy garbage collection, misplaced and damaged bins and missed routes by the city's private contractor.

Lisa Rhea, director of public works for Oldsmar, attributes the recent problems with Republic to the business' workload. At the end of September, Republic, along with two other solid waste companies, Waste Management and Progressive Waste Solutions, changed to an automated garbage pickup system in unincorporated Hillsborough County. It involved 250,000 customers.

"The timing with our problems was very coincidental with what was going on over there,'' Rhea said. "It is not fun for (the city's) utility billing clerks receiving the calls because they can't give the callers any answers since Republic is a contractor.''

Republic Services, whose local office is on W Linebaugh Avenue in Tampa, has served Oldsmar since 2003, and the current contract does not expire until 2017. It services about 5,000 Oldsmar households, and on average, each household pays approximately $16.25 per month for garbage and recycling services.

Two Republic Services executives, Patrick Rzeszut and John Clifford, came to last week's City Council meeting to address the concerns. Council member Jerry Beverland told the men that not only has he heard from many disgruntled residents, but he is frustrated with his own garbage pickup.

"I probably told 300 people that I'd be their mouthpiece tonight,'' said Beverland. "One complaint is I am tired of getting out of my truck and moving the garbage can from the middle of my driveway, and if you look down the roads on pickup day, there's garbage cans, two or three, in the middle of any street in town. It's aggravating to have to dodge garbage cans.''

Oldsmar resident Bonnie Stubbins also vented her frustrations to Rzeszut and Clifford.

Because she is handicapped and uses a wheelchair, Stubbins pays $2 extra each week to receive "carport pickup'' from Republic. However, Republic workers have skipped her house several times in recent months.

"The irony is that there's a sign that (Republic) posted on my post box with a logo and a trash can that says 'Needs Assistance,' she said. "If I could lug the can to the end of the road, trust me, I would.''

After the meeting, Rzeszut admitted that the Hillsborough project could have been a disruption for his workers.

"I guess it's fair to say that our eyes, our managers' eyes, went away from the ball a bit with the changeover in (Hillsborough),'' he said. "But really, I believe the main reason for the problem is a turnover in staff. We need to get more trained workers into Oldsmar. I want more workers than we have now to understand the routes so if someone gets sick or needs to take a vacation, it will still run smooth.''

Rhea is planning to meet with Rzeszut this week to discuss the city's concerns further.

"We'll meet to really hash it all out,'' she said. "We'll sit down and talk through everything that's going on and talk about solutions. We want to ensure that Republic follows through so that our residents receive what they are accustomed to."

Piper Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. To write a letter to the editor, visit the website or mail to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100A, Clearwater, FL 33755.

In Oldsmar, garbage complaints pile up 10/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 7:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying 'Me too' for years

    Human Interest


    Meet her with her clothes on.

    Don't make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are listening; that you will listen, to whatever she has to say. Observe what …

     Pam Kelly, a gynecologist at Tampa General Hospital's Family Care Center at HealthPark, teaches future doctors at the University of South Florida how to identify and treat victims of sexual assault. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times
  2. 'Days were lost': Why Puerto Rico is still suffering a month after Hurricane Maria


    MAUNABO, PUERTO RICO — Before Hurricane Maria tore through the rest of this island, it came to Mayor Jorge Márquez's home.

    A man wades through a flooded road, past a boat, in the Toa Ville community two days after the impact of Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Because of flooding, thousands of people are being evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) CGPR130
  3. With college looming, Channel Drive band finds a way to keep on rocking

    Human Interest

    A year and a half.

    That's the time Channel Drive, a band made up of local high school students, had to organize concerts, create music, produce an album and perform in front of audiences before three-fourths of the group were to leave for college.

    One of Channel Drive’s favorite venues is the Brass Mug in North Tampa. Here, from left to right, Colby Williams, Jacob Fleming and Ricardo Ponte command the stage while Alex Carr handles drums.
  4. Florida unemployment rate drops despite huge loss of jobs

    Economic Development

    Florida lost a whopping 127,400 jobs last month as Hurricane Irma swept through, according to state figures released Friday.

    Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September. Pictured is 
Shantia Blackmon (left),from St. Petersburg, talking with Jocelyn Kelley from North Carolina at a Pinellas Schools County Job Fair in June. | [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Study: When you die, your brain knows you're dead


    Have you ever wondered what happens after you die?

    According to a new study from NYU, researchers say that a person's brain may function after their death. [iStockPhoto]