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
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