Public hearing set for April 4 on trash pickup fee increase
City Commissioners set a public hearing for April 4 on a proposed 10 percent increase for sanitation fees.
Annually, city staff reviews and analyzes the sanitation fund to ensure the city has adequate funding for daily operations, equipment and emergencies.
Chris Gaub, public works director, reviewed the division costs and needs during the March 21 commission work session.
The last utility rate increase was in May 2022.
City approves increased trash pickup fees 
Staff is proposing to increase residential and commercial sanitation rates by 10 percent.
“The increases are necessary to continue to provide required pickup and disposal services as well as fund the sanitation fleet,.” according to staff.
The increases are also needed due to increased landfill fees and fuel costs, according to staff.
The city’s customer base has also increased and the Public Works department needs the increase to have the flexibility to hire necessary staff.
City considering options for trash pickup, landfill
If approved, the increased rates will generate an increase of about $450,000 in revenue to help offset costs to the sanitation division, according to staff.
Fuel costs are high and staff anticipates that will remain at this level or continue increasing.
Unleaded gas increased by $1.08 per gallon to $4 in 2022 and diesel fuel increased by $1.60 to $4.34, according to staff.
In 2021, the city paid $207,701.31 for fuel.
In 2022, that cost increased to $329,553.55, according to staff, an increase of $121,852.24.
Commissioners review city budget, revenues trending down 
Fees at the privately owned landfill the city uses have continued to rise and the city sanitation fund paid $1,025,642.29 for 35,185 tons in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30, 2022.
The first six months, the city was charged $28.37 per ton and for the last six months, $30.31 per ton, according to staff.
Landfill rates change on January 1 and not July 1, when the city’s fiscal year begins.
For the first half of the current fiscal year, the city will pay $30.31 per ton and for the second half, the rate is $32.43 per ton, according to staff.
Based on fees and tonnage, the city estimates it will haul 36,233.88 tons for a cost of $1,103,721.72 for landfill fees, or an increase of $78,079.43 over the last budget year.
Gaub told commissioners that landfill fees are 22.91 percent of the sanitation budget.
He said landfill fees had a 1.4 percent consumer price index increase in 2021; a 6.85 percent CPI increase in 2022 and a 7.15 percent CPI increase in 2023.
The city’s contract with Republic Services for the landfill runs through 2024 with options to extend.
Gaub said staff will be renegotiating that contract then unless the city comes up with other options for a landfill.
Fleet costs have also increased.
The sanitation division is scheduled to purchase a roll-off truck for $232,248 and a commercial rear loader for an estimated $375,000.
The last roll-off truck the city purchased was $169,405.38 and one of the current trucks in the fleet is 20 years old with 13,391 hours of operation.
That truck needs to be replaced, according to staff, and the new truck will become a front-line truck and the next oldest truck will be moved to a backup unit, and also serve as a backup hauler for the screw press project at the water plant.
The last commercial rear loader the city purchased was $207,224.
In the past, the city paid $376.629.38 for these two trucks that now will now cost $607,248, according to staff.
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