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In Spring Hill, plan would put garbage fee into utility bills

SPRING HILL — Spring Hill residents might soon have one less regular bill to pay.

The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday will consider a plan that would end the quarterly bills sent out by Republic Services to residents in Spring Hill's mandatory garbage collection zone. It would instead roll the monthly cost into residents' utility bills.

The new billing arrangement would only be for residents inside the mandatory collection zone in Spring Hill, which encompasses approximately 43,200 addresses, including those added in April when the commission agreed to slightly expand the zone.

The system is supposed to streamline the billing process, which has been the source of many of the complaints Republic representatives have fielded since the company took over countywide garbage collection at the beginning of 2012.

Originally, there had been talk of putting the garbage collection fee on residents' property tax bills, similar to the way the county's solid waste assessment is levied. That idea never gained steam.

Upgraded software, new hires and other costs are expected to run about $100,000, but "while uncertainties remain related to Hernando County utilities implementing and tracking garbage collection billing, Republic Services has expressed their commitment to ensure that the effort remain cost neutral to the county,'' according to a staff memo to the commissioners.

At least one county resident is already worked up about the idea.

Spring Hill resident Vicky Dietrich wrote to County Administrator Len Sossamon late last month, telling him her tale of poor service by Republic, including allegations that Republic employees had been rude and retaliated against her when she questioned why her garbage was left at the curb.

"I am very sorry to see that the county will be billing for the trash pickups in the mandatory areas,'' she wrote. "It's bad enough that we have no say in our hauler, but with the county issuing bills, we also have no leverage to use against Republic to provide service.

"They will get paid if we get service or not.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

In Spring Hill, plan would put garbage fee into utility bills 10/03/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 10:28pm]

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