Commissioners voted unanimously to abandon the way residential garbage has been collected in the Greater New Tampa area for nearly 17 years in favor of an automated system that saves money using wheeled carts instead of human labor.
At a special workshop Jan. 10, the commissioners ruled in favor of the so-called “2-1-1 Automated Service” for the more than 250,000 households in unincorporated Hillsborough County, including New Tampa. The City of Tampa already contracts for automated residential garbage and recyclables collection.
What stays the same:
- Twice-weekly garbage collection.
- Once-weekly recyclables collection.
- Once-weekly yard-waste collection.
What changes in October:
- Residents will wheel their garbage and recyclables to the curb using carts provided by the county.
“The current residential solid-waste collection contracts, which have been in place for nearly 17 years, expire Sept. 30, “ according to a county news report. Bids in the fall were sought on four possible service options, including the current manual collection of garbage and recyclables.
The automated service will save taxpayers “more than $7.5 million annually, a 22 percent reduction than if the current contracts had been renewed,” according to county officials.
Mitch Kessler, an industry consultant, reportedly told the commissioners at the Jan. 10 workshop that about 7 million Floridians have automated collection service.
Recognizing the loss of jobs that will ensue with the shift to automation, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham reportedly said he will bring before the board an agenda item to discuss ways to help the displaced workers.
Commissioners at their Jan. 24 board meeting are scheduled to award contracts to private haulers for residential collection in each of the five newly defined districts, according to the county news release. Commercial customers, as always, will be able to negotiate their own collection contracts with private haulers.