Island council a step closer to ending trash, recycling contract

tbarton@islandpacket.comDecember 17, 2013 

  • Council increases town manager's pay

    Hilton Head Island town manager Steve Riley's received a pay bump Tuesday, making him the one of the highest paid town or city administrators in the state and surpassing Gov. Nikki Haley's base salary.

    Town Council voted unanimously to increase Riley's base salary by 3 percent to $175,203. Council also increased the town's contribution to Riley's retirement plan by $3,036 for a total contribution of $16,644.

    Riley, who has been town manager more than 20 years, also will receive supplemental long-term disability coverage equal of 65 percent of his base pay and individual life insurance coverage equal to twice his annual salary.

    "It's council's consensus that the town manager continues to do a fine job for us," Mayor Drew Laughlin said.

    Riley received a 5-percent salary bump to $172,200 last year. Before that, Riley's last pay increase was July 2008.

    The pay increase puts Riley behind only Columbia city manager Teresa Wilson's $190,000 a year salary, according to a 2013 salary survey by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

    Not every municipality in the state, though, participates in the survey, which reflects raises effective Jan. 1, 2014.

    Haley's salary as the state's chief executive is $106,078. She also reported income of $175,000 in book royalties, according to her latest statement of economic interest filed April 15. But $66,019 of that went for legal and professional expenses, netting a profit of $109,481. In all, Haley earned a combined $215,559.

Hilton Head Island residents soon could again see multiple garbage trucks driving down their streets to collect trash.

Town Council Tuesday approved the first of two required votes to end its solid waste and recycling franchise agreement with Republic Services on March 31. Residents and communities on Hilton Head would need to find new trash haulers starting in April.

Haulers seeking to serve the island would be required to provide single-stream recycling -- meaning residents and businesses wouldn't have to sort recyclables -- in their base price and at least once-a-week pickup. Waste haulers who fail to comply with those requirements could have their business license suspended or revoked.

Prior to the deal with Republic, the island's gated communities, including Hilton Head Plantation, had preferred provider agreements. Residents could chose to use their own provider or sign up for service through a preferred hauler at lower prices negotiated by the community's property owners association.

Homeowners could also choose to haul their garbage and recyclables to a county-operated dump, which many did, according to Hilton Head Plantation general manager Peter Kristian.

Whether the gated community returns to a preferred provider model has yet to be decided, Kristian said.

Previously, council had tentatively decided to get rid of Republic for multi-family and short-rental properties on March 1, with the company continuing to provide service to single-family homes until Sept. 30.

But council members later decided the town should get out of the waste and recycling business entirely.

"Since we weren't able to come up with workable plan for rental properties and multi-family properties, by the time you take them out, what's left doesn't provide sufficient benefit to justify continuing that arrangement," Mayor Drew Laughlin said after the meeting.

He added that prices would have increased with the decreased pool of customers covered under a franchise.

Of the hundreds of complaints the town has received, many have come from rental properties about service on Saturdays, when vacationers check in and out. Crews that clean up timeshares and rental units often don't finish their work until after the trash trucks have gone, according to town officials.

That means trash can pile up for days until the next pickup.

Several condominium regime managers also have complained of poor service and asked the town to either cancel the Republic contract or let them hire their own haulers.

Representatives from local waste haulers have said they would be ready to step in and provide services by April 1, including Waste Management and Waste Pro.

Republic attorney Steve Weber said the company will stop service to short-rentals and multi-family residential after March 31. Whether it will continue to provide service to single-family homes who choose to stay with Republic, hasn't been determined, he said.


Hilton Head Island council votes to end trash, recycling contract (3:54)

Hilton Head Island Mayor Drew Laughlin discusses council's decision to end the town's trash and recycling franchise. Tom Barton

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

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