Inverness council to consider waste collection price hike | Local News


The Inverness City Council and city residents will have the chance Tuesday for some trash talk.

The council will consider its city manager’s request during its regularly scheduled public meeting when he will ask permission to hike the city’s monthly waste collection fee.

The current monthly residential rate for fiscal year 2021-2022 is $10.15.

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GFL Environmental Inc. contracts with Waste Management to perform the work.

The city initially began charging to pick up residential waste in fiscal 2021-2022. The cost was $9.85 a month.

Until it was implemented, the city paid for residential trash pickup using general property taxes. But with most property owners utilizing homestead exemptions, the city council found that many city residents weren’t paying enough property taxes to cover the cost of the service they were receiving. So the council voted to impose waste collection fees and tack them onto residents’ utility bills.

The city council, however, did not adjust property taxes downward to reflect the additional revenue stream.






Williams


“Staff has reviewed the projected program cost for fiscal year 2022-2023, and recommends that the residential solid waste fee be set at $11.15 per residential unit which is consistent with the forecasted 10% increase from the current $10.15 per residential unit in the development of the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget,” wrote City Manager Eric Williams.

That rates are based on a 2020 rate study by Tampa-based Tindale Oliver, the consulting company the city hired to review its waste pickup. The study recommended reviewing the rates annually.

The city has about 3,500 residential customers.

Williams told the Chronicle Friday the proposed increase reflects the cost to provide the service and no more. The city budgeted nearly $1.2 million for waste collection for 2020-2021, including residential, commercial, and landfill fees.

“The cost of the service … is up 10%,” he said.

The culprit behind most of the hike, Williams said, is the rising cost of fuel.

“The fuel costs are increasing significantly,” Williams said. “Fuel costs is really driving it.”

Asked if it would be cheaper for the city to operate its own waste collection service, Williams replied that the city was not near large enough. The cost of the vehicles, maintaining them, and paying enough employees to work for the new department, as well as employees to cover for those sick or on vacation, would be prohibitive, he said.

“I would not think so,” Williams said of whether the city could provide the service for less. “No.”

Also in city business, Williams will provide updates regarding the city’s audit, grants to the city’s fire department for new equipment, Inverness Heights road improvements, and the coming July 4th celebrations.

The council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 212 W. Main St., Inverness



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