GREENSBURG — Greensburg residents may soon be paying more for trash collection and disposal services.
Street Department Supervisor Mark Klosterkemper recently appeared before the city council and asked for an increase in trash/tipping rates for Greensburg households.
He cited current budgetary spending figures and announced the results of a survey he and his staff have conducted in preparation for upcoming yearly budget discussions.
According to Klosterkemper, the cost to the city for trash/tipping fees per household is $7.84 per month, but the city only currently charges each household $3.50 per month.
“We’ve been eating that cost continuously for the last 10 years,” Klosterkemper said.
He continued, explaining the results of an informal phone survey conducted by himself and his staff. Having collected data on trash fees and budgetary practices from communities statewide, he said there are a variety of ways city governments charge their residents for trash collection and disposal.
“They charge by the bag, they have multiple rates based on container sizes, they’re pretty much all over the board,” he said. “A lot of them are proposing increases because they’re incurring situations they’ve never encountered before.”
Klosterkemper said based on his finding that $13 to $14 per household per month is about the average.
“I know this is not gonna be popular, but we’re gonna have to do something,” he said.
Klosterkemper explained that some cities – Greenfield, for example – have gotten out of the trash business, ceasing their weekly collection efforts and forcing residents to contract with a privately owned service.
“They’ve got four different companies driving all around town on different days picking up trash, and they (Greenfield) said the average cost per customer is about $17 a month,” he said, adding that the $17 figure in Greenfield did not include brush, yard waste or leaves.
“If I had to make a recommendation, I’d set it at $12 a month,” he told the council. “Other communities (citing the city of Carmel as an example) have a 3.5 to 4 percent increase built right into the yearly, so they don’t have to deal with any big hits. Then, you don’t have to deal with the shock of doing something like we’re proposing.”
Mayor Joshua Marsh added, “This fund continues to be one that we subsidize a lot, as you can tell from Mark’s numbers. ... As we look forward to the impact COVID-19 will have on budgets, it would be good if we were able to sustain ourselves on this side of the operation.”
Klosterkemper noted Decatur County is fortunate to have a local landfill, and indicated without one local residents would likely be paying much more than is already the case.
“We’ve done everything we can. We’ve cut labor costs and adopted higher capacity compaction vehicles so we can get more tons per yard. I can’t pull any more magic out of the hat to get it any lower,” Klosterkemper said.
The council discussed implementing the necessary fee increase in two phases, and doing so by January 2021.
A draft of an ordinance specifying details of exactly how much of an increase city residents are looking at and when said increase will take effect is expected by October.