Seminole County will purchase hundreds of bear-resistant trash containers and offer them to residents and homeowners associations west of Interstate 4 for a fraction of the cost.
It’s part of Seminole’s ongoing efforts to deter the animals from invading neighborhoods and reduce the number of nuisance bear complaints in an area where three women have been injured by bruins in separate incidents since December 2013.
Homeowners will be charged $126 for each 64-gallon trash container — with a lock top — purchased from the county, according to the plan. For homeowner associations, each container will cost $42.
The idea behind the two different rates, county officials said, is to encourage every homeowner in a neighborhood to have the containers, rather than a few property owners. Otherwise, bears would raid trash cans without the lock tops.
“I’m just excited about the fact that this county has taken a leadership role in the entire state not only in the protection of bears … but in just doing the right thing, ” County Commissioner Lee Constantine said Tuesday. “And these are really good cans for that price. If people buy these cans, they know they are helping to reduce the negative human-bear contacts. They are protecting their property. They are protecting their family, and they are protecting the bears.”
Commissioners agreed to set aside $296, 000 — including $200, 000 from a state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant — to purchase 1, 316 bear-resistant containers from Toter Co. at a cost of $157.50 each.
The county will sell the special containers at the reduced rates only to property owners and neighborhoods within the county’s Urban Bear Management Area, or the area west of Interstate 4. Residents in other areas of Seminole will be charged full price for the containers. Seminole will use revenues from the sales to purchase additional containers.
County officials said they are negotiating with waste-hauling companies to eliminate an extra $60 a year charged to property owners to handle the bear-resistant cans.
Orange County plans to spend about $200, 000 from a state grant to purchase bear-resistant containers. Officials expect to offer them by late August at a reduced rate to residents in the northwest part of the county, an area designated by the FWC as a bear-management area.
“Most of these carts run about $250, but we’re anticipating the price will be around $50 a cart for eligible customers, ” Jamie Floer, an Orange County spokeswoman, wrote in an email.