West Memphis to consider trash pick-up rate hike for 2016

Public Works pushes for $1-per-monh increase for residential customers

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

West Memphis sets garbage collection fees by ordinance and City Engineer Phillip Sorrell told the Public Works Commission in December about the need to raise the residential sanitation fees. With he nod from the commission moving the proposal forward, City Council will consider the increase in January. Proposed monthly rates vary for single family homes and apartment buildings. The dollar per month increase would make $16.50 the new charge for homes. With 9,100 residential customers on the books, the increase would generate roughly $110,000 annually for the city. Commercial rates were raised in December 2013. By comparison residential sanitation in Marion is currently $15 per month. Expenses for the city’s Public Works Department are up all around next year. A County Landfill rate increase is part of what driving the fee up. The mandated 3-percent pay raise for employees will cost the department another $30,000. Finally, some new equipment is needed. The 2016 department budget shows an expected $10,000 landfill increase next year and debris operation projected a $20,000 increase. “Overall we have a $30,000 cost associated with disposal. We didn’t have much left over for depreciation. We had a $2-per-ton landfill increase in 2014; in 2016, it’s another two dollars. Each one of those costs us $40,000. Recycling costs, and contributing toward the code enforcement officer round out the list of needs. Sorrell said his department swallowed increases sustained recently but time has come to pass them along. Some equipment is 20 years old and needs replacement. Further, a savings in maintenance cost would be realized with the acquisition of new equipment. “We’ve had $150,000 hit to our budget over the last two years,” said Sorrell. “Given the fact our maintenance costs are so high and our present budget only allows for $120,000 left over for new equipment. That is not enough to replace our aging fleet. We need to be in a better position to replace our fleet.”

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