In a recent Hernando County Board of County Commission meeting, discussions were held to deliberate amendments to the boundaries of the universal solid waste collection district. Solid Waste Services Manager Scott Harper presented the proposal to expand the universal area, following the board’s direction received during a workshop held in March.
During the March workshop, commissioners explored procedures for bids and Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) in anticipation of a contract renewal with Republic Services or contracting with a new hauler. Harper has completed the RFQ process and is now progressing to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage. Despite Republic Service’s contract ending in 2025, Harper assures that the timeline for completion of the entire process is on track for 2024. The Board approved Harper’s proceeding with the expansion efforts. Two primary options for universal service expansion are being considered: map-based and subdivision-based.
Option 1: Expanding westward to the Gulf of Mexico border, encompassing areas like Aripeka, Bayport, Hernando Beach, and more.
Option 2: Expanding eastward to US 41 and northward to Fort Dade Ave., covering areas like Hernando Highlands, Deerfield Estates, and other subdivisions.
This option involves adding existing subdivisions and parcels based on factors such as density, location, and property size. Class A subdivisions exceeding 50 lots and substantially under ½ acre will be included.
Subdivisions and properties were selected based on several criteria, including lot size, location, and characteristics of a modern subdivision. The goal is to keep neighborhoods together, enhance garbage collection efficiency, and address issues like blight.
The commissioners, considering the end of Republic Service’s contract in December 2025, decided to initiate negotiations with the current hauler for a new contract covering the expanded mandatory areas. If negotiations prove unsatisfactory, an RFQ will be advertised, and the most qualified company will be invited to submit bids.
Despite the expansion, the current service levels for collection are expected to remain consistent, with trash collection twice a week and recyclable and yard waste collection once a week. The bulk collection of furniture and household items will continue at one pickup four times per year.
Changes in yard waste collection requirements were also under consideration. The current mandate to cut yard waste to three-foot bundled segments may be amended to allow yard waste to be contained in residential waste bins, excluding the blue carts used for household trash.
As Hernando County moves forward with these considerations, it aims to improve waste management efficiency, maintain service quality and address the evolving needs of its growing population. There was an approved motion by the board to amend the current universal garbage pick-up area by adding subdivisions outside of the universal area that meet certain criteria. However, an ordinance has to go to the board for approval of any changes.