New Port Richey tells trash haulers that services will change

NEW PORT RICHEY – Currently, New Port Richey has half a dozen garbage haulage companies driving the streets of the city every week to serve customers. But this agreement is likely to end in the years to come.

It has created persistent problems when residents choose their own rubbish truck from among those that have agreements with the city. These include damage to the city’s streets without being sure which company did the damage, confusing differences in the services of freight forwarders, and a sizable number of city dwellers, 1,900 of the city’s 16,000 residents, who receive no garbage collection at all.

On Tuesday evening, New Port Richey City Council voted to alert existing hauliers that the city is initiating a process to change its garbage service, a notice required by state law.

The vote could mean that fewer providers or providers could be restricted to certain zones in the future. The move could also mean that the city might decide to give out a single garbage franchise for all of New Port Richey, though several council members had reservations about the idea.

The other council of amendments is considering switching to a more uniform accounting system, which all hauliers agree that it would be better. That could mean the garbage bill will be placed on city water and sewage bills, or possibly on property tax bills. There was no consensus among councilors as to which accounting system would be best at this early stage of the discussion.

City officials hope the changes will put every city dweller under a garbage disposal agreement. They also hope to reduce illegal dumping, create more unified service, and cost customers less than the current $ 18.49 plus 10 percent franchise fee per month. A franchise agreement could also impose new rules to improve the quality of life by disposing of garbage in specific bins rather than leaving it in unlidded bags or cans. The contract could also require an ombudsman to work for the freight forwarder and allow city staff time to deal with complaints.

City officials said they heard some public concern about changing the system they wanted on the record. Citizens’ comments on Tuesday included a desire to maintain the free market system and concerns that the city would put a strain on people who couldn’t afford to pay for garbage disposal.

New Port Richey Councilor Peter AltmanNew Port Richey Councilor Peter Altman

Councilor Peter Altman said he saw the automated garbage trucks in other areas that use a mechanical arm to pick up and dispose of trash and that might be an idea to consider. For those who couldn’t pay, Altman said that water service and garbage disposal “are utilities and that these are the basic cost of living”.

Deputy Mayor Chopper DavisDeputy Mayor Chopper Davis

Since the council vote was only meant to start the process, councilor Matt Murphy agreed that it would do no harm to move on. However, Deputy Mayor Chopper Davis was concerned about choosing only one carrier. He said he saw the individual Hernando County, Republic Services franchisee struggling at times to gain a foothold in rural areas. Having a few freight forwarders approved for an area may prevent this.

“I believe in competition,” said Davis.

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