According to numbers released Monday at the LaFayette Council meeting, the fee hike is expected to generate an additional $50,300 per year for the city.
We talked about this when we were doing the budget, Mayor Neal Florence said. We decided we have not had an increase in our fees in over 12 years. So we are recommending an increase of $1.50 per month for residential and $1.75 per month for commercial. This moves residential from $12 to $13.50 and commercial to $19.
According to Florence, the increase is likely to take effect by the November billing.
Officials have sited fuel increases as the major contributor for the rate increase.
According to City Manager Johnnie Arnold, the city has been paying wholesale fuel prices that have been as much as four times higher than what it has paid for fuel in the past.
A load of fuel that we were paying $8,000 for three years ago, we are paying a little better than $32,000 for today, Arnold said. The wholesale prices have quadrupled, although the retail prices have only tripled.
The city had considered contracting its garbage service to a private company, but after bids were taken the city realized it could continue to provide service cheaper, even with a rate hike.
Councilman Wayne Swanson said of the cost of private garbage service, My son lives in the county and gets pickup only once a week and he still pays about $16 per month.
The price cited by Swanson is about $2.50 above what the city will charge residents, even after the rate increase. Additionally, the city provides twice-a-week garbage pickup for city residents.
Another cost factor the city must contend with is rising landfill tipping fees.
This past year our landfill tipping fees cost us between $90,000 and $100,000, just for tipping fees, Arnold said.
Tipping fees are collected when trash is dumped at a landfill, transfer station, or dumpsite.
Arnold said tipping fees are up about a dollar per ton from last year.
We are expecting these fees to go up even more, Arnold said. They have the problems we do with the cost of fuel and the cost of equipment and the cost of operation. As these things go up, they have to go up (on their fees).
The city uses a transfer station that is located between LaFayette and Trion for disposing of its garbage, and so must pay a tipping fee.
Arnold said that without this rate increase the city would lose money providing the service.
Costs have gone up to the point to where we are operating in the red, Arnold said.
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