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Garbage rate increase approved

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019
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Decatur residents and business owners will see their garbage rates go up next month.

The city council Monday approved a request from Waste Connections for a consumer price index (CPI) increase equal to 2.09 percent. Waste Connections provides trash and recycling collection services for the city.

As part of their agreement with the city, Waste Connections is allowed to request the price adjustment once a year.

“It’s based on whatever the consumer price index is for the previous 12 months,” said City Manager Brett Shannon. “Some years it’s been higher than this number, some years it is lower than this number.”

The new trash collection rates for residential customers will increase 27 cents per month, to $13.39. Residential recycling rates will increase 8 cents to $4.09.

Commercial trash collection rates will increase 48 cents to $23.35. Commercial recycling rates will increase 11 cents to $5.42.

Waste Connections representative Norm Bulaich said in the past, rate increases have been effective Jan. 1. However, due to a new contract structure, the increases will take effect April 1 in coming years.

Since the request was made after April 1 this year, the new rates, if approved by ordinance upon a second reading by the council later this month, will take effect May 1.

“There’s been some years when the CPI index was low and these guys did not come to us for an annual increase. If there is an increase in their costs, it’s an increase in the cost of operating the vehicles … or the costs they’ve got to dispose of the trash,” Mayor Martin Woodruff said.

Bulaich and Waste Connections District Manager Merle Rodgers also answered questions from council members about last year’s change in the trash collection method, which now uses a cart system and garbage trucks with an automated arm.

Councilwoman Margaret Doubrava said she was concerned that not as much trash was being collected because it was her understanding all trash had to fit in the cart. Rodgers said larger items that don’t fit in the carts are usually picked up on the second round of trash collection per week. He said the loose bags beside the cart should also be collected.

Rodgers also addressed Doubrava’s concern that going to the automated system might have cost some employees their jobs.

“No one has lost their jobs – we just reshuffled a little bit,” he said.

Councilwoman Carmelina Holloway also praised the employees who pick up the bins for the disabled who can’t roll the cart to the curbside and then return the carts to the house.

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