Hilton Head needed better exit strategy

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 13, 2014 

Ending the relationship with Republic Services is having unintended economic and practical consequences for island residents. The current Republic residential service for trash and recycle is going from $55.22 per quarter to $155.31, almost a triple increase, which unfortunately sets a higher price range for competitors to offer customers. Waste Pro is initially only providing service to the south end of the island. Waste Management will not publish offerings until March.

The impact of the current termination could have been mitigated by a longer wind-down process with Republic and perhaps the negotiation of a reasonably priced middle ground.

The town and Republic could have addressed select components of the service separately -- such as the regime/rental service where there are typically large dumpsters for service -- which is different from regular residential back door service. I suspect both sides have valid points to make on the issues.

Town leaders say they expect "reasonable" costs for future services. Given that two vendors essentially have to ramp up service largely from scratch, in the short term, there is not much effective competition. And one could argue reasonableness of proposed prices.

The "free" Beaufort County Service Center will likely see a surge of residential activity from individuals seeking to lower costs, and the town will likely return to less-effective recycling.

We need a better exit plan.

Gene Sain

Hilton Head Island

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