Beaufort News

Beaufort County to expand morning hours at most convenience centers

David Frazier, an employee at the Beaufort County Convenience Center on Castle Rock Road, helps people unload their trash on July 1 in Beaufort.
David Frazier, an employee at the Beaufort County Convenience Center on Castle Rock Road, helps people unload their trash on July 1 in Beaufort. dearley@beaufortgazette.com
Beaufort County is restoring some of the morning hours it cut from its trash and recycling centers' schedules late last year, finally bending to residents' complaints about the change.

All 11 of the county's centers will now open at 7:30 a.m., instead of 9 a.m., starting Oct. 24, according to news release Thursday. All centers are open until 7 p.m.

Each center also will remain closed on Wednesdays for routine maintenance and four of the smaller centers will remain closed on Mondays and Fridays -- holdovers from the changes last year.

The county's trash and recycling sites used to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, until budget cuts forced a reduction last October, county solid waste manager Jim Minor has said.

The department cut out morning hours in an effort to affect the fewest amount of customers, based on traffic data it collected at the centers over several months, Minor said at the time.

But the outcry and complaints against the reduction was swift and relentless, at least for the first few months.

Long lines formed outside the county's busiest centers in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, and residents sounded off on social media and in letters to The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.

The most common refrain was that the changes disrupted typical morning routines and left some unable to drop off their trash before work.

Over the winter and this spring, however, complaints subsided and residents seemed to have adapted to the new schedule, Minor said then.

The county has since renewed its contract with Waste Management, which contracts to haul county waste to the Hickory Hill landfill, with lower disposal rates, deputy county administrator Josh Gruber said Friday.

Those savings are now being used to reinvest in operating hours and personnel, he said.

"The changes we made initially were for budgetary reasons, and now that the budget is going the other way, we want to be responsive," Gruber said. "We want to look at when people are using, and tailor our service there. We'll continue to look at the usage rates and stuff like that, but hopefully we won't be making any changes for awhile."

THE NEW SCHEDULES

The new schedules at the county's 11 convenience centers fall into two groups:

Group A will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. This group will be closed Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and on county holidays.

Group A includes:

- Big Estate, 63 Big Estate Road

- Coffin Point, 10 Cee Cee Road

- Cuffy, 152 Cuffy Road

- Sheldon, 208 Johnson Road

Group B will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This group will be closed Wednesdays and on county holidays.

Group B includes:

- Bluffton, 104 Simmonsville Road

- Gate, 130 Castle Rock Road

- Hilton Head, 26 Summit Drive

- Lobeco, 6 Keans Neck Road

- Pritchardville, 270 Gibbet Road

- Shanklin, 80 Shanklin Road

- St. Helena, 639 Sea Island Parkway Beaufort County to restore some morning trash, recycling center hours

Follow reporter Zach Murdock on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach and on Facebook at facebook.com/IPBGZach.

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