Recurring complaints of missed trash pickups and clogged customer communication lines have plagued Republic Services Inc. since the company took the sole hauling franchise contract Jan. 1.
In a move designed to alleviate some of the problem, county commissioners Tuesday will consider a new way of picking up some residents' garbage: automated pickups.
Republic has asked to voluntarily implement the program in certain areas at no charge to residents. If passed, here's how it would work:
The customer would roll out a 30- to 100-gallon cart with a tight-fitting hinge to the curb. A mechanical arm on the hauler's truck would lift the can, empty it and place it back on the ground.
Customers would still get twice-a-week garbage collection but would be spared the mess of trash bags and less sturdy waste bins, according to Diane Rowden, public relations and customer service coordinator for Republic.
Rowden, who has been pitching the idea to various homeowner and community groups, said several subdivisions are already on board with the idea, including Brookridge, Wellington, Trillium, Avalon, Seven Hills and the Heather Walk.
Rowden stressed this is not being forced on anyone.
"It's strictly voluntary," she said.
Only communities who want the automated service would have it, she said.
Not only does she believe it would improve customer service, but it would make Hernando County look nicer by not having garbage strewn about from animals and birds getting into the trash, she said.
This system would require a change in the county's contract with Republic and must come before a vote before implementation.
Republic, at no charge to the customer, would deliver one roll cart to the homes approved for voluntary automation. Republic would pay for any maintenance of the roll carts.
This would also help the haulers by making pickups faster and safer, Rowden said. Some trucks are equipped only with one driver right now, who must stop at the site, get out, pick up the trash and continue on. Another plus, she said, is the roll carts are American-made.
Customers who sign on for the program would get directions on how and where to place the carts.
Commissioners will discuss the issue at their meeting which begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.
Also on the agenda:
Cost is $282,346.
The department maintains about 1,600 miles of roadways, along with curbs, sidewalks and drainage structures.
To view the entire agenda, visit www.hernandocounty.us/