HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Some Spring Hill residents are not happy about their garbage rates going up and being put on their property tax bills.
"You have a duty here as commissioners to protect our rights and not have us pay taxes to a private company," said a Spring Hill resident during public comment at Tuesday's County Commissioner meeting.
Just a few months ago, Hernando County fined its contracted trash removal company, Republic Services, more than $135,000 for missing 1,300 pickups, just in the month of February.
"Last year during the Christmas holiday, we didn’t get service for eight days," said Jim Mason of Spring Hill.
The county, who re-signed a seven-year contract with Republic Services last summer, says they’re monitoring the company closely. But Tuesday commissioners voted unanimously to add garbage fees for the mandatory pick-up area in Spring Hill to residents' property tax bills; just like Hillsborough county already does.
"You’re a private company, send me a bill. Why am I paying it to a government agency?" said Spring Hill resident Joanne Murray.
The county says the change is mainly because some residents weren’t paying their bill. In 1992, the county voted to make a portion of Hernando County a mandatory pickup area for trash removal, forcing the county to collect trash fees from residents. The county says when people don't pay the trash bill, the money comes out of taxpayers pockets. County commissioners say they negotiated a low rate for trash removal in the county.
The county says they can withdraw their contract with Republic Services if service to residents does not improve.
The new rates and billing won't begin until January of 2019.