County struggles with mandatory garbage collection

Universal garbage collection
The Citrus County Commission on Tuesday seemed to take a softer stand on the issue of mandatory garbage collection.
 
Discussion among commissioners ranged from topics about the possibility of using a regional landfill based on a study recently completed -- but deemed by Commission Chairman Scott Carnahan to be useless since the plan will not be used -- to space left in the county's landfill to flow control.
 
"I think competition is good. I believe we need to have flow control," Carnahan said. If the board goes down the road of mandatory trash collection, he said, there are a "ton of questions to be answered." He also said he was in favor of putting a tipping fee on the ad valorem tax bill. As for customers having only a few choices among haulers, he said, "I am for free-market enterprise and flow control."
 
Commissioner Ronald E. Kitchen Jr. said he favored mandatory garbage collection. Universal garbage collection, he said,  is the way to compete in the marketplace. "I have been through this in Crystal River (but) in the end, it all works out." He made a motion to move forward with mandatory collection franchising, but there was no second to the motion.
 
Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said that the commission didn't have enough facts. "I am against government telling citizens they have to buy something," Kinnard said. He said he didn't see anyone being able to have a choice of hauler under a franchise system. As for transfer station, he said he didn't know how much it would cost. "We do not have enough information (to decide if a transfer station is the way to go)." He said the county's numbers are changing entirely too much before commissioners truly know what the  costs are.
 
" I think that to go down this road, we’re putting in place a lot of regulation without having the information. If we want to expand our landfill, we have to know if the state is willing to play."
 
Commissioner Carnahan said the county could expand its landfill, and didn't need the state's approval for that.
 
Commissioner Brian Coleman agreed with Kinnard. "We need more information before making a decision," he said, to include costs associated with a possible transfer station and the property where it would be located. "I agree we need to hold off. My concern is illegal dumping situations. A number of dumping stations would alleviate some of that problem." He also said he was in favor of letting customers choose their hauler under a free enterprise system.
 
Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith said he has always been in favor of mandatory garbage collection. He said that it would prevent illegal dumping.
 
Commissioner Kitchen said, "We have multiple issues dealing with solid waste and multiple ways of dealing with it. My issue is how are we going to fix the problems. Government provides certain services that need to be done, and we need to find the best prices to get that done," Kitchen said.
 
Commissioner Kinnard said in response, "Taking a second look before we get too far down this road, I think, is acting very responsibly. It is far more important to get this done right than to get it done quickly."
 
Commissioner Coleman reminded commissioners of the difficulty in getting the county's space needs solved. He said the commission made a decision after commissioners had all the information. "We need to get it right the first time," referring to the mandatory garbage issue.
 
"We also need to consider what to do with recycling. I am in favor of waiting, but coming back and discuss it in about three months."
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