Port Royal considers $2 increase in garbage collection fee

May 4, 2011 

  • Briefly discussed the town's 2012 fiscal year budget. Staff is "fine-tuning" a draft version of the approximately $4.7 million budget to eliminate a $258,000 shortfall.

    Council has directed staff to keep the millage rate steady and not increase taxes, town manager Van Willis said.

    Staff will look at all utility and franchise agreements, property tax collections, business license collections and personnel costs, among other things, for possible revenue increases and savings as it looks to balance the budget, Willis said.

    Council is scheduled to have the first of two readings Wednesday to approve a final version of the budget.

  • Port Royal residents will likely see their garbage collection rates increase $2 per household --a rise some town officials say is necessary to help cover the cost of providing the service.

    The town currently charges $12.50 a month and is considering bumping that to $14.50 in what would be the first rate hike since 2002.

    But even with the increase, garbage collection services would still cost the town more than it collects in fees, town manager Van Willis said.

    It costs about $16 per month per unit to provide garbage, large appliance and yard debris pickup services, Willis told council members.

    A $2 increase would generate about $25,000 to $30,000 more a year, Willis estimated.

    Port Royal Town Council discussed the proposal during a workshop Wednesday.

    Council is scheduled to have the first of two readings on the proposed rate hike next week.

    Asked why staff didn't recommend a fee high enough to cover operating costs, Willis said "I just think it might be difficult for our customers to absorb it all at once."

    Instead staff will look for other cost-saving possibilities, such as evaluating routes for efficiency, making tweaks to save on fuel costs and looking at personnel levels, Willis said.

    The town's public works department currently has seven full time and two part-time employees, he said.

    Officials discussed outsourcing trash pickup at a retreat last month, but the town would still have to retain public works employees for other general duties, Willis said at the time.

    "To realize any savings (through outsourcing), you'd have to get rid of personnel," Willis said. "If you get rid of personnel, you can't do yard debris or white goods (large appliance) pickup."

    Councilman Vernon DeLoach said he prefers the town keep trash collection in-house with employees who can immediately respond to calls from citizens or to emergencies.

    "There's nothing like having your own people who know how to run your own equipment," DeLoach said. "I think we can probably justify... the $2 increase."

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