Franklin County commissioners have asked county staff to investigate the best way to implement mandatory garbage service for Franklin county residents.
The illegal dumping of household garbage has become a major problem in Franklin County.
Because garbage pickup is not mandatory, many residents choose not to pay for the service and instead find other ways to dispose of their trash.
That includes dumping their trash in other peoples cans, dumping it in county recycling bins, or just leaving it on public property where the county or city has to remove it.
Commissioner William Massey said that in Carrabelle some people have resorted to leaving their trash in the cemetery because the city will have to pick it up.
The problem has gotten so bad that the county has been forced to close down a number of recycling sites and are now discussing whether they should just end the recycling program altogether.
And the problem is not necessarily rich versus poor.
It was pointed out that there are even some homeowners in the Plantation on St. George Island who don't pay for trash pickup and instead take advantage of their neighbors.
The county commission came very close to voting on mandatory trash pickup this week – there was a motion and a second.
The motion was withdrawn after commission chairman Smokey Parrish voiced concerns that the county could become liable for paying for people's trash bills if the process was not set up properly – though it was pointed out that the county is already paying the cost of people's trash disposal because in the end all of the illegally dumped trash winds up at the county landfill.
Parrish also raised concerns that if the trash bill is put on people's tax bills that the county could find itself putting liens on people's property just because they didn't pay for trash pickup.
The commission instead decided to investigate the various ways mandatory trash pickup could be funded to see which one would work best locally.
As for the future of the recycling program, county commissioners say they will address that issue during budget negotiations this summer – and will consider either scaling the program back to only accept the items that are most profitable or doing away with county recycling completely.