Councilman Defends Garbage Rate Increase

Village Councilman David Smith contends a $3 monthly garbage fee increase would help Bridgeport buy a new packer truck – despite Mayor John Callarick’s recent assertion that the extra money isn’t needed.

The increase being proposed by Village Council would generate enough money to pay off a $150,000 loan in five years, Smith estimates. However, that rate would remain in place after the truck is paid off. Smith said he did not think a temporary hike “would be a sound move right now.”

Meanwhile, Callarick said the village already has plenty of money to purchase a new packer and that a rate increase is not necessary. But Smith said the village does not have enough cash on hand to purchase a truck. Finance Officer Judy Oberdick believes there is about $15,000 that could be used as a down payment on a packer, he said.

And while Smith said he is not trying to justify a rate hike based on the possibility of sanitation-related expenses increasing, he also mentioned it is likely the cost of diesel fuel will go up in the future, along with insurance and landfill tipping fees.

”I’m not a proponent of stockpiling money for a rainy day. … I don’t think this is an overburden to the citizens. … We could have started three to five years ago, but I don’t like raising funds for what could happen. Three dollars to some is a lot of money, and $3 to some is not,” he said.

Smith said the mayor mistakenly called him a member of the sanitation committee, which includes council members Carole Lyle, Dick Riley and Ben Lenz. He said he is not a committee member but has helped them seek prices for packers. He sought estimates that ranged from about $122,000 to $130,000. Smith also contends a state pricing program would not have saved the village $20,000.

Council heard the first reading of the proposed rate increase ordinance Nov. 20. The second reading is slated for 6 p.m. Dec. 18, and a third and final reading is slated for 6 p.m. Jan. 15. If approved, residents’ base rate would increase from $12 to $15 a month; the rate for small businesses and churches from $17 to $20 a month; and commercial non-Dumpster businesses from $35 to $38 a month.

Meetings are held at the municipal building, 301 Main St., Bridgeport.

The proposed ordinance also calls for reducing the allowable number of cans from five to three. If approved, those who put out more than three cans would be charged an extra $1.50 per can. Smith said he has received some calls from people concerned about the proposed extra can fee.

”We’re willing to revisit not decreasing the can number,” he said of Village Council.

But Smith believes the extra can rule may already be in the original ordinance and just has not been enforced for many years. According to a copy of the ordinance marked ”2009 replacement” provided by Smith, residents are expected to pay an additional $1.50 ”for any container collection in excess of five.”

In addition to Smith, Lyle, Lenz and Riley, Jim Porter and Marvin Husarick also are council members.