Breckenridge Texan

Final vote on city trash services rate increase set for Tuesday

Final vote on city trash services rate increase set for Tuesday
June 08
11:26 2018

Breckenridge residents and businesses will be paying more for trash pickup service if a 3.2 percent rate increase is approved by City Commissioners during a Special Called City Commissioners meeting Tuesday evening.

During their regular meeting this Tuesday, June 5, commissioners approved the first reading of a proposed rate increase by Republic Services of Abilene for a 3.2 percent rate increase that could become effective with the July bill for city customers.

Commissioners set a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, for a second reading and vote on the rate increase. City code requires any rate changes be read and passed twice and published before being charged to the customers.

Breckenridge City Secretary Heather Robertson-Caraway said once the commissioners approve the rate increase at the second reading at Tuesday night’s meeting, the city will then have to publish a legal notice with the new rates in the local newspaper. She said new rates can then go into effect five days after the notice is published.

She said although the rate increase from Republic Service will not go into effect for the City of Breckenridge until Aug. 1, the city will start billing customers for the rate increase in July.

“It will go into effect in July because Republic Services will start billing us on Aug. 1 with the increased rates. And in order for us to be able to  pay that Aug. 1 bill when it comes in, we have to bill customers in July,” she said.

According to a rate schedule provided by the city, if the new rate agreement is approved, the weekly cost of a 95-gallon poly cart (blue plastic trash can) pick-up will increase from $13.13 per month, to $13.55 per month. The cost of an extra residential poly cart pick-up will increase from $6.56 to $6.77.

The 3.2 percent increase will be across the board on all waste services provided by Republic Services in Breckenridge. (Click here to see proposed rate increase sheet.)

In a May 24 letter to the mayor and city commissioners requesting the rate change, Joseph J. Spano, municipal service manager for Republic Services, said the increase was necessary “due to the continuing increase in cost associated with hauling and disposing of waste materials.”

At Tuesday’s meeting Spano said, “This price increase helps to keep our fleet looking the way it looks. We have all new trucks, y’all have a new truck coming in a few months, and employee raises, things of that nature. So as in any business – obviously in anyone’s business – our costs never go down. We would hope that someday that day would come where costs are going down, but they continue to go up. And just like any business, whether you’re buying a hamburger or auto or even trash pickup, you have to ask your customer to pay just a little bit more.”

Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion said that last year the city renegotiated an eight-year contract with Republic Services which allows the company to ask for price increases. He said although he doesn’t like making eight-year contracts, one of the things he asked the company to do as part of the agreement, was put a single axle truck on the road instead of a double axle truck that hauls the trash to Abilene because it was tearing up the city’s roads. He said the company was willing to do that if Republic Services could amortize the truck over eight years.

Local Option Liquor Joint Election Agreement
At Tuesday’s meeting, Breckenridge City Commissioners also voted to approve a joint election agreement and contract for elections services with Stephens County for the Local Option Liquor election for the legal sale of beer and wine to be held on Nov. 6.

“This will save the city quite a bit of money on having a second election this year in November,” said Breckenridge City secretary Robertson-Caraway. “Our normal elections are always in May, which means we would have to hold a second one just for the liquor.  But since she (Christi Latham) is holding one, it’ll save us a lot of money. All we’ll have to do is pay for ballots.”

Saving the YMCA
Also during the meeting, McCuistion told commissioners he would like to meet with people in the community who are interested in saving the YMCA building in downtown Breckenridge and see if they can put together a plan to present to commissioners.

He said he would like to save the building, but right now it’s a money pit for the city and will cost over a $1 million to restore. He said the city doesn’t have the money and is never going to have the money. Plus, he said, any grant money available for the project would require matching funds, which the city doesn’t have, either.

However, he said since the last commissioner meeting when several citizens showed up asking the city to save the building, he’s learned there are two people in town who would like to discuss the possibility of buying the building from the city. He said they are interested and fixing it up, saving the historical flavor of the building and making it available for use for different functions. He said they are also interested in putting a business in the building.

City Centennial Celebration
Commissioners also approved a request to authorize the city manager to form a Centennial Celebration Committee.

McCuistion said the City of Breckenridge will have its 100th anniversary on March 24, 2019. He told commissioners he would like to put together a committee out of the community to help plan events to celebrate the city’s anniversary that will take place throughout the year. He said the committee would probably consist of groups like the county government, school district, chamber of commerce and other groups that want to be part of the celebration.

Several community residents turned out at the May City Commissioner’s meeting to show support for saving the YMCA building in downtown Breckenridge. This past Tuesday, City Manager Andy McCuistion updated commissioners about some possible solutions on how to restore the building by working with people in the community. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Joe Spano, municipal services manager for Republic Services, (right) discusses the company’s proposed rate increase for trash collection services in Breckenridge at Tuesday night’s city commissioner’s meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

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