BROOKSVILLE — The cost of running the Hernando County landfill is going up as officials prepare to open the next section of the facility.
Property owners got the bad news this week on what those growing expenses will mean to their tax bills for 2020 and years to come. For the first year, the increase is 10 percent, but after that, it's 50 percent over the current fee.
Soon after notices appeared in area mailboxes, social media channels lit up with questions about why the increase is needed so soon after garbage collection bills went up.
But the solid waste assessment is different than residential garbage pick-up fees.
The assessment, which has been added to Hernando County property tax bills since 1990, pays for the cost of running the landfill and the county's two convenience centers. The bill that some Spring Hill residents pay on their taxes and others pay quarterly to Republic Services, is strictly for garbage collection.
According to the notice, the solid waste fee for single-family homes of $63.05 has not changed for more than 15 years, even as expenses have gone up. The additional funds are needing to cover construction of the next planned $16 million landfill cell, the notice said, and for future storm debris removal.
The notice points out that after Hurricane Irma, the county learned it does not get full federal reimbursement, so it needs money to be able to recover quickly after a storm.
The new proposed fee is $69.40 for calendar year 2020 and $95.00 for subsequent years.
"The department has continued to hold costs for solid waste disposal steady for many years,'' the letter to property owners states. "The county has now reached a point where this is no longer possible.''
A public hearing on the increased fees is set before the County Commission on July 16.
According to the hearing notice, "the total revenue to be collected by the proposed solid waste disposal assessments for calendar year 2020 is estimated at $5,493,740.'' The assessments will be collected on the property tax bill mailed out in November.
For more information, visit Hernando County's Frequently Asked Questions site.
Contact Barbara Behrendt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.