TAMPA — Trash collection is primed to get pricier in Hillsborough County.
For the second consecutive year, Hillsborough County is planning to increase its residential trash assessments by more than 20 percent. If approved, after a scheduled public hearing on Aug. 4, the two solid waste and disposal fees would increase $63.47 on Oct. 1. That is a nearly 22 percent increase over the current assessments of just less than $290.
Commissioners didn’t comment on the proposal Thursday. The vote to schedule the public hearing was part of the consent agenda, in which commissioners approved 37 items with a single vote. The county will mail notices of the hearing to its 306,000 customers.
A year ago, the commission approved a $55 increase in homeowners’ assessments, a 23 percent jump in residential trash collection costs.
Charlotte Greenbarg of Lutz objected to that increase last year and renewed her criticism to the new proposal Thursday when contacted by the Tampa Bay Times.
“It’s absolutely abusive,” she said.
The 2020-21 increase was portrayed as a stop-gap measure to finance 16-month contract extensions with three haulers until new franchise agreements could be reached. Those franchise agreements landed before commissioners Thursday under which three haulers will provide trash collection service in the county until 2030. Commissioners approved the three contracts, totaling $589 million.
The three companies are: Republic Services of Florida in northwest Hillsborough; Waste Management Inc., of Florida for the central zone and Fomento De Construcciones Y Contratas, Inc (FCC) in the south-central county.
The decision came after commissioners unanimously rejected an appeal from Waste Connections, which sought to disqualify FCC’s $157 million proposal as unrealistically inexpensive. Waste Connections also criticized the county’s evaluation committee.
“I have no reason to question their judgment,” Commissioner Mariella Smith said of the committee’s recommendation.
Waste Connections will continue to serve approximately 136,000 Hillsborough County customers until its current contract expires Feb. 1, 2022.
Two Waste Connection customers offered testimonials on behalf of the company during the commission’s public comment period.
“I would hate to see them leave the community,” said Willie Evans.
“We’re very happy with the service,” said Christian Mailloux of Wimauma.
Last year, Waste Connections suspended its curbside recycling service for nearly three weeks because of a driver shortage attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The county said then it received more than 5,400 complaints of missed service from Waste Connections’ customers over a 12-day period.
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Thursday, an FCC representative answered the customers’ commentary.
“There will not be any disruption in service,” said attorney Kyle Watson.