Paying for your trash?

by Staff on December 29, 2007 · 12 comments

in Local

I’m curious what you folks would think about paying for disposal of your trash. This is just a hypothetical, so don’t freak out (just yet).

Here’s how the plan is laid out in my mind:

  • The City would provide a location for drop-off of trash and recyclables. It should be open two days a week (11am-7pm on Saturday and one weekday). Operation would be supervised by a City employee during open hours.
  • The City would cut back trash pick-up to once per week. The City would provide pick-up of both trash and recyclables at the same time. Pick-up of recyclables would be free, trash would not.
  • Households would be required to pay $0.50 per bag of trash picked up by the City. For each bag of trash dropped off at the City provided location, the cost would be $0.25.
  • The fees would be collected by the sale of “stamps” or “tags”, available at numerous locations throughout the City (City Hall, grocery stores, gas stations, etc.).

There are numerous benefits to a program like this, including:

  • City employees who are responsible for trash pick-up would be devoting 50% less time to that task, thus making them available to work on other tasks.
  • Increased recycling by citizens, do I need to mention the environmental benefits?
  • Revenue generated for the City

At the time of the 2000 census, there are 1,884 households in Mitchell, according to Wikipedia. Now, let’s make a few assumptions. Let’s assume that each household would dispose of one bag of trash per week, half of them dropping the trash off at the City-provided facility, half of them utilizing the pick-up services of the City.

Per week, a total of 1,884 bags of trash would be disposed of: 942 picked up by the City (at a cost of $0.50 each) and 942 dropped off (at a cost of $0.25). Each week, the City would generate revenue of $471 dollars (pick-up) and $235.50 (drop-off), for a total of $706.50 per week. Over the course of a year, that’s a total of $36,738.

What could the City do with an additional $36,738 a year? Would you be more likely to recycle? What are the drawbacks to a program like this?

Let me know what you think about this in the comments.

12 comments
Brook Street resident
Brook Street resident

I believe that the previous recycling effort was cut short due to the fact that it was not saving the City. It was reducing the amount of trash, but it was costing them more since separate pick-ups were required for trash and recycling. They were not able to collect both with the same truck. I would fully support a recycling program. A drop off facility would need to be constructed, and this would need to be planned out for long-term use. When we lived in Lafayette, the City reduced the trash pickup from 2 days to 1 day per week. They also provided each household with a large trash tote with wheels and a hinged lid. The tote was necessary in order to fully utilize the semi-automated trash truck. Due to the cost of the truck and the totes, I don't expect that this can happen in Mitchell. If the City started charging for trash pickup or dropoff, then most people would probably take their trash to the Georgia or Mill Creek sites for free. The County would most likely need to offset the trash increase with a fee of some sorts.

rick
rick

Wouldn't work a lot more people would just go out into the country and throw it out or use the county facilities. We could recycle again maybe use a couple of workers to sort the trash and recycle what we can in order to make money.

admin
admin

No idea. As I was writing that up I was wondering the same thing. -- Webmaster, Mitchell News

Anonimous
Anonimous

Why did the city QUIT the recycling program they had about 10 yrs. ago?? I still have my blue plastic recycle bin...

admin
admin

Personally, I think that recycling and reducing waste goes along with the "beautification" programs previously established. I suppose if we free up some time for the city workers and they have nothing to do, then that means we have too many city workers. No? I'm a huge advocate of having things for the kids to do during their "downtime", such as the summer breaks. I'm not sure what the daily attendance is at the swimming pool, but I'm sure it has dropped drastically in the last several years. Surely there has to be something better we could spend the money on. (And, yes, it really does lose that much money.) -- Webmaster, Mitchell News

Anonymously
Anonymously

The recycling would be the best part of this idea. We need to get this back into action in Mitchell, whether it is done by the city or a private company. Not sure what freeing up time for city workers would accomplish. We already have several people sitting around the city garage doing nothing all day. If they ever start to really work and get to be so busy they can't handle it all (haha), then maybe consider throwing a couple of extra workers their way. The city pool is too important to our young people to close down. Maybe a little fine-tuning in the financial management would be in order? It seems hard to believe that the pool could be losing as much money as has been reported.

mitchellmamaw
mitchellmamaw

What about those of us who have larger family's? We have more than one bag of trash a week. It's more like one bag of trash a day or more. It does seem more sensible to go to trash pick up being one time a week instead of twice. On the off days they could do other work in the city.

Anonymous.......
Anonymous.......

Another thought....If there is going to be a location to drop of trash, I'm estimating that the first 3 years of revenue would have to go to pay for the location, construction, and equipment. Hey wait a minute....you're not planning to fill the pool you want to close with garbage are you? lol j/k

Anonymous.......
Anonymous.......

Yeah I agree....I already pay dearly for my trash to be picked up through my $100.00 water bill. As for killing the pool...I think we should work on a way to make it at least break even. Closing it just adds to the list of things that we have lost in Mitchell and takes away from the youth we are trying to encourage to stay here. Raise the price or whatever...I know that means less people come probably but I feel you have to try something before you just close it. I don't think a 50 cent or even a dollar increase would be so bad for most people. Any ideas besides closing it?

reader
reader

I have also lived to others cities. I was surprised when I came to Mitchell and discovered that there was no recycling. However: If our trash pick up goes to once instead of twice a week and we are charged extra for that, would our water, sewer, trash bills, which are already much too high, be reduced? Or, would it be less service for more money? Going out to buy trash stamps and keeping track of how many a person will need would place an extra chore on the residents, some of who are elderly and many who don't have transportation. You may have very little trash, but what about the rental buildings in Mitchell where there are lots of trash bags, would the tenants or the landlords be responsible for the cost of and responsibility of securing the stamps? The city now picks up trash from the some local businesses, and that service is much appreciated by the owners. Their trash bag count is much higher and would add to their overhead. If merchants sell the stamps are they going to receive a commission for their time and bookkeeping? It is an assumption to think the city employees would do more on their trash free day--they could very well do less. I am totally in favor of recycling. In other cites I have lived in the recycling was handled by a recycling company, not the city. The city sold bins for those willing to participate and the recycling company picked up their contents. I assume the recycling company paid the city for the contract. It is likely that very few Mitchell households would participate in a recycling program that would cost them extra time and money and reduced their city service.

admin
admin

I was actually referring to something at the city level as opposed to some "partnership" with the county. As you mentioned, we know how well that would go over. I was hoping that by freeing up some of the city employees (we would, in effect, get two extra days of work out of them), we could concentrate their work towards other things, something actually involving progressing the City. I understand that no one wants to spend more money than they have to. I recycle, however, and I actually have very little "trash". Today was the first time in three weeks that there was actually enough trash to merit a trip to get rid of it. Due to the holiday, there was a lot more. Total amount spent: $2.00. Normally, it's about one bag of trash every two to three weeks, effectively costing me roughly $2 per month. I blow more than that on stupid things (like the money I lost at the casino yesterday). The City simply needs more money, in my opinion. There are definitely ways that the City can reduce expenditures (I, for one, am in favor of shutting down the City Pool, which we currently sink about $70k per year into). As a financial person will tell you, there's two things you can do: reduce expenses or increase your income. I'm trying to think of ways to do both. I'm not sure if you're aware or not, but I live in Bloomington (that's obviously where this idea came from). For those living on campus and (at most) apartment complexes, the cost of "trash services" is usually built in to rent. When I first moved here, we lived at a place where we were charged $4/month. Now, of course, I'm responsible for it myself, and actually spend less. What I spend on "trash services" in a year is less than the cost of one night eating out. In addition to generating a bit of revenue, it also encourages folks to recycle as a means of reducing their "trash expenses". (Please don't assume I'm some hardcore environmentalist -- I'm definitely not.) Thanks for your comments. You brought up some things I hadn't considered. -- Webmaster, Mitchell News

T. Paine
T. Paine

In short, no way. I understand the benefits of the recycling program, BUT you are not taking into consideration the fact that the transfer stations are operated at the county level. Oh yeah, of course if they are operated at the county level, then Bedford will want in and suddenly the idea of the city making money goes up in smoke because everyone knows that if we find a way to make money here...Bedford will want their share. Besides, I have seen my water bill increase to rates that I have never paid in any city I have lived in and if one of the things that I am paying for is trash pick-up then I certainly don't want to pay MORE for a service I already am paying for. Lets face it, you are essentially talking about raising taxes in an area that can't support that kind of strain. I have seen this program before...in Bloomington...except they SELL you special trash bags to create revenue. Does it work for them....sure. Why you ask? Simply because 2/3's of the population is college students for 6-8 months and you know how enviromentally aware college students can be as well as having financial support from sources outside Bloomington. I left Monroe County because they found real exotic ways to raise taxes. When I left, I was losing over 50% of my paycheck in Federal and State/local taxes. Way too much. I understand the idea...the revenue generation, the refocusing of the street staff, but I would look at ways to reduce overall city expenditures than put additional tax load on the citizens. I mean, we are at fork in the road with this city right now. With the whole property tax issue and the increased water bills....additional household expenditures aren't the answer. Besides, you know what would start...illegal dumping along county roads by lehigh. We need ideas....keep thinking....just steer away from the household incomes...for now at least.

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