The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 19, 2013

City looks at upping waste service fees

By Katie Dahlstrom Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Clinton residents could soon pay $1.39 more for their solid waste services monthly as city officials find ways to shore up the solid waste fund.

During the Internal Operations Committee meeting Tuesday, committee members moved forward with a suggestion from interim City Administrator Jessica Kinser that the cost for all solid waste services increase from $14.50 to $15.89.

Kinser explained that although the city is working with consultant Springsted to create a request for proposal for solid waste services, action needs to be taken in order to recover the solid waste fund from its $1.8 million deficit.

“Even though we’re moving forward with an RFP, we need to talk about doing something to still try and make up some ground from where we are right now,” Kinser said. “The negative numbers exist regardless of what we do.”

The cost for a customer who uses the city’s garbage collection would be broken down into $6.22 for solid waste, $4.55 for recycling, $2.26 for yard waste, 37 cents for large-item pickup and $2.49 for the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency fee for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Those residents who do not use the city’s solid waste system will see an increase in their monthly fee from $9.25 to $9.67.

The committee selected the second of two options that Kinser presented. In both options, committee members were given projections of what the increases would need to be in future fiscal years in order to make the solid waste fund financially solvent by 2019.

The increases were heavier in initial years in the option that committee members rejected. This option would have brought the monthly cost for solid waste customers to $18.24 and $10.79 for those who only pay the flat fee.

At-large Councilman John Rowland preferred the more gradual increases rather than the large initial jump, fearing the response from residents if the latter was pursued.

“I can assure you, you’ll have to put two people on the phones for the cans being turned in,” Rowland said. “It will be a temporary anyhow. It will cause more headaches and confusion and angst in the community.”

Solid waste customers will pay $22.42 per month by 2019, according to projections for the chosen option, but committee members want to avoid escalating service costs.

“Hopefully by 2019, we’re looking at other ways to deal with this and this isn’t the final answer,” Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman said. “This can be changed and this can be addressed as often as necessary to find other methods of paying for it.”

The increase will move forward to the next committee of the whole to be discussed by all council members.