A proposed 33 precent monthly rate increase for Gallatin’s trash collection service has received initial approval from the Gallatin City Council.
City leaders voted unanimously on first reading last week to raise the monthly fee from $12 to $16 per can for the optional trash service. For non-customers, the cost of brush pickup would also increase from $75 to $150 per load.
“I don’t want to do it, but it’s the (expenses) that have gone up on us,” Mayor Paige Brown said about the need for the rate increase on May 4. “I do think it’s important to also note that we’re still lower than surrounding cities, we’re a lot lower than private haulers and people do have the option not to use us if they desire to seek a different option.”
According to the most recent data from Gallatin Public Utilities, which handles the billing for the city’s trash collection service, there are 13,242 garbage customers with a combined 15,391 trash cans in the city.
If approved, the rate increase would generate more than $738,000 in additional revenue for the environmental services department of public works.
The additional funds would be used to hire a new employee for brush collection, replace garbage trucks and pay for other expenses as well, according to Richard DePriest, superintendent of Gallatin Public Works. The money would also be used to cover an anticipated increase in user fees at the Sumner County Resource Authority, which are estimated to cost the city approximately $100,000 more annually.
“Inflation with everything from tires to gas to fuel to repairs has gone up,” DePriest added last week. “That’s the reason I’m recommending the $16 (rate).”
Gallatin city leaders last approved a $4 per trash can monthly rate increase for customers in 2013.
In addition to the increase, Brown also told officials the city needs to limit access at its recycling center on Long Hollow Pike to only residents of Gallatin.
“We have to do something with enforcing our recycling… because we are having so many people using that facility and we’re covering all the costs associated with it,” Brown said.
The facility, which is open around the clock, accepts cardboard, glass bottles, newspaper, plastic bottles, tin and aluminum cans along with clothing and textiles. However, DePriest said workers are making multiple trips to Nashville each day to haul excess plastic and cardboard due to increased usage.
Since Gallatin does not monitor who uses the facility, officials say it’s unclear exactly how many residents from outside the city use the facility.
“We just know the use has gone up substantially,” Brown added.
A final vote on the new rate increases for monthly trash collection and brush pickup for non-customers is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 18. If approved, the new rates are expected to take effect July 1.