County commissioners once again put the lid on universal garbage. They voted unanimously to reject the idea and opted to stay with the current system, which allows residents to deal with multiple providers or take garbage to the landfill themselves. “I’m for free enterprise,” Commissioner Scott Carnahan said. “I believe you should be able to do what you want.”County Commissioner Ruthie Schlabach said she would never vote for universal garbage if it ended up costing residents more. In Beverly Hills alone, she said, it would hike homeowners’ bills by $130. She based that on bids that came back to the county from three companies.

County Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said he believes universal garbage is the way to go but now is not the time. The issue has come up several times in the past 25 years, but no board has ever taken the plunge. A packed house showed up for the special meeting. All opposed universal pickup and they applauded the board’s final vote. ”We need to put this to bed today,” Bill Harris of Citrus Springs said. “We’ve got other things to talk about.”

County Commissioner Holly Davis said the timing “is just hideous” because residents are already saddled with a stormwater assessment tax and dealing with a pandemic. The county has not ironed out all the details on the plan, she said. “(Universal garbage) is what we need long-term as a county,” she said. “We just don’t need it right now.”

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Author: Michael D. Bates, Citrus County Chronicle
Image: Matthew Beck, 
Citrus County Chronicle