Avoid Unneeded Rate Increases

A few dollars here and a few dollars there, and pretty soon people on fixed incomes, including many senior citizens, have trouble paying the bills.

Increasing prices for food, fuel and utilities make it difficult enough for them without government adding unnecessarily to the burden.

Bridgeport Village Council has approved the first reading of a measure that would increase garbage collection bills – even though Mayor John Callarick says the municipal sanitation department doesn’t need more money.

Approved during a Nov. 20 meeting, the ordinance, if adopted, would increase the base fee for garbage collection by $3 a month. In addition, customers placing more than three garbage cans out for each collection would pay a new fee of $1.50 for each additional container.

If approved at meetings in December and January, the ordinance would raise more than $32,000 a year in additional funds for the sanitation department.

But Callarick told our reporter the additional funds are not needed. The sanitation department is operating within its budget, he explained. And if a new garbage truck is needed, the village has enough money to buy one, he added.

Just as the cost of living for individuals and families is increasing, the cost of operating local government is going up. Fuel for the garbage truck costs much more than it did just a couple of years ago, for example.

But Callarick is right: Village council members should be careful not to place new burdens on residents unless there is an absolute need for more money. Council members should take another look at the rate increase proposal, with an eye to trimming or postponing it.