BROOKSVILLE — Get ready for the parade of blue.
The beginning of the new year will bring new garbage service for many residents of Hernando County — and a new fleet of blue garbage trucks.
Republic Services, doing business as Seaside Sanitation, takes over countywide trash collection on Monday, bringing some expanded services at a slightly lower cost for many customers.
County officials have conducted several public meetings to get the word out about the service and to answer questions, but they said there continues to be some confusion about how the new system will work.
Nothing will change for those living in the city of Brooksville, and those not paying for garbage service now are not required to become customers of the county service.
One of the expanded services is weekly curbside recycling, which will be available countywide for the first time. But residents who live outside the existing mandatory garbage collection zone in Spring Hill will have to contact Republic in order to arrange to have a recycling bin delivered and to get on a route for recycling pickup.
Republic will first provide recycling in areas where larger concentrations of customers have contacted the company. Interested communities and neighborhoods are urged to work together to promote recycling, said county spokeswoman Brenda Frazier.
The countywide garbage service will continue to provide twice-a-week pickups for garbage, as well as a new yard waste pickup every other week. All customers should have been notified by mail of their garbage, yard waste and recycling days.
The contract also allows each customer up to four bulk-item pickups per year, which can be scheduled through Republic's customer service department. Furniture, appliances, fixtures, carpet and other large or heavy items will be picked up within 72 hours of the call during the regular work week.
For the past decade, three companies, one of which was Seaside Sanitation, have provided garbage service for unincorporated Hernando County in specific zones. Those franchise agreements ran out at the end of September.
The county put the service out to bid, and Republic Services was the lowest bidder in every zone. Each of the zones also realized a slight decrease in cost, except for High Point and Brookridge, where service will increase from $6.15 to $7.15 per month.
The other previous providers, Waste Management and Choice Environmental, agreed to extend their old contracts to Dec. 31 in order to give Republic Services time to start its new countywide operation.
Republic is the second-largest provider of services in the domestic nonhazardous solid waste industry, according to the company's flier. The company provides solid waste collection to approximately 13 million commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers through 400 collection companies in 40 states and Puerto Rico.
As Seaside Sanitation, it has served approximately 6,000 Hernando County customers in the north and west portions of the county.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.