August 27, 2008

Yard waste program costs to rise sharply

The cost of participating in the city’s yard waste collection program is set to rise sharply.
Those choosing to participate in the green waste collection program will pay 70 percent more next year than they have had to shell out for the past several years.
A city panel recently agreed to hike the fee from $50 to $85 annually in order to cover the expense of running the program.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski, who voted for the change in committee, called the increase “ridiculous” and insisted that the City Council should have a shot at trimming it back.
Rimcoski said that with so many residents scrimping to pay for fuel and taxes, there’s no excuse for hitting up residents for such a whopping increase in one program.
Mayor Art Ward said he wishes that the cost didn’t require such a large percentage increase.
But, he said, it’s important that a voluntary program covers its costs so that taxpayers as a whole don’t wind up subsidizing a service that is not required.
The mayor said that city officials need to do a better job of staying on top of rising costs so that increases are done regularly instead of waiting for years and then socking taxpayers with “phenomenal increases.”
“It’s not fair to the taxpayers to experience sticker shock,” Ward said.
Bristol is one of the few municipalities in the state to offer curbside yard waste collection.
The city started offering the fee-based, curbside program a decade ago after state environmental regulators barred anyone from tossing grass clippings, tree branches and other yard-related leftovers in the garbage.
Most towns have done nothing to help residents cope with the state-mandated ban on yard waste in trash.
The $50 annual fee has been in place since at least 2001.
Officials said when they began the program that giving people the chance to put out one big barrel of yard waste weekly is a benefit to many.
They also said they would continue the program as long as it supported itself. They said they wouldn’t subsidize its expense.
But as fuel costs rose and employee salaries went up, the fee remained the same until this year.
Ward said that he hopes every department at City Hall will take a look at its services and make sure that the fees charged cover as much of the cost as they should.
That’s one way to hold down next year’s budget and limit tax hikes, he said.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

33 comments:

Craig Minor said...

There are a lot of municipal services that fall into the gray area of "non-essential". They are either used by everyone and cheaper for the City to provide (such as trash pickup), or are used by most of us and make Bristol a better place to live (such as a good library). In my opinion any other non-essential service should be paid for by the person who uses it.

There will probably be a debate over how much the cost of yard waste disposal should be subsidized by the City, but as someone who recycles all of his yard waste, I say it should be fairly little, which is why I voted to increase the fee. I look forward to hearing from anyone who agrees or disagrees.

Anonymous said...

your telling me the city can not subsidize 30 bucks for every yard bucket that is in this town...Are you freaking kidding me! How many buckets are there? Steve can you find that info out?

Steve Collins said...

Last I knew, there were about 1,000 barrels in the program.

Anonymous said...

Adios Artie.

Anonymous said...

way to go 3:43, the city should pay this $30.00 for yard waste and the next $30.00 for whatever and the next $30.00 for whatever - you must be a real financial genius - enron ring a bell, stupid?

Anonymous said...

Try composting your yard waste and use a mulching mower. If nothing else it will reduce the amount of waste you create.

Anonymous said...

So Rimcoski votes for it in committee but is now wringing his hands and worried about the taxpayers. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

One should remember that is illegal to put grass clippings in the trash barrels, which is what evertyone is going to do if they don't pay for yard waste barrels next year, and then the city will be paying more for tipping fees at the incinerater, and any money they thought they would save would be lost here. Good plan, Mayor Ward, keep grasping at their straws.....

Anonymous said...

Did the city consider lowering the water rather than raising the bridge?

What would be the result if they did as they do with recycling, come every two weeks?

Costs would essentially be halved.

If some people needed more volume, then charge them for the second barrel. They would be the ones that used more of the service.

I would hate to see even more of teh roadside dumping than we have now, and I fear that this will happen.

Ddi the city determine just how many filled their barrels, how may just used a portion?

Seems like they might have jumped too quick.

William T. Stortz

Anonymous said...

Why should my tax dollars go to subsidize these barrels for the 1000 or so people who chose not to recycle on their own, like many others are obviously choosing to do? The explanation that if we don't they will dump in their regular barrels and we will get fined anyway is ridiculous. Do you want the city to take care of everything for you? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Putting yard waste that has been treated in the regular waste and then into the incinerator puts more chemicals into the air we breathe.

Anonymous said...

I've never agreed with Stortz before, but in this case I do. It isn't necessary to have yard waste pick up every week. We produce more household recycling products weekly than we do yard waste and that gets picked up bi-weekly. The yard waste should be done bi-weekly when recycling is done. That will definately reduce the cost instead of financially detering citizens from using the yard waste barrels by raising the cost of doing what is "green".

And I have to ask, Mr Stortz, WHY DIDN'T YOU CHANGE IT IN THE 2 YEARS YOU WERE IN OFFICE TRYING TO CONVINCE EVERYONE YOU WANTED TO SAVE TAX DOLLARS???

Anonymous said...

stortzie, where were you when you were in office, all of a sudden you have the answers?
maybe if you had done your job and responsibly looked at the rates, rather than play political games. people wouldn't be in this position today.

Anonymous said...

The reason behind the cost increase is because of man power and gas,right? We all know that gas will come down, when who knows,but the city should budget the cost of the subsidy in their budget. 30 dollars more is only 30 grand and that is not much of a cost they will come done eventually at some point. Or here is an idea - raise the dump fee permit? Oh!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Bill Stortz

Anonymous said...

People are in an uproar over nothing.

A barrel of oil was $30 in 2001 and is now near $120. Obviously this has had an impact on curbside pickup. Increasing the cost for voluntary pickup isn't out of line given the cost increases the city is facing.

A small 4' x 4' area used to construct a mulch pile would probably eliminate the need for 75%of the people to have a barrel. Disposing of grass clippings is a total waste and unnecessary use for the green barrels.

I've used a casual mulch pile for years and usually have little more than a small pile that largely disappears over the winter.

Perhaps the city can look into offering some mulch containers again for sale at a nominal cost.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the library is never lumped into the "non-essential" services area.

If we were unwilling to subsidize a library for our community and instead follow the path of cities such as Hartford in reducing library services then we would be sending a very dangerous message to our city's children implying that reading and literacy isn't important in life.

The result of such a decision would be an accelerated departure of individuals and families that value education and literacy.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Bill Stortz is GONE

Anonymous said...

How about fining the people who live on Hill St and dump their yard waste on city property across the street. None of them have a barrel but the yard waste is piling up up there. Go check it out Wardie Boy.

brainy said...

I dunno... Even at $85, it's still a very good deal.

That's just $7/month. Peanuts really. I mean, how many services will come to your house for $1.62? Not many, I'm afraid.

Nothing to get all worked up about...

And my gut tells me that the most vocal against the increase aren't even the same people who utilize the service...

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

In my opinion any other non-essential service should be paid for by the person who uses it.


Councilman, if your standard for the city paying for non essential services is "everyone" or "most of us" what standard do you set for a non-essential service that you feel the person should pay for?

Anonymous said...

August 27, 2008 3:43 PM - you are exactly right! The dump permit should be increased to of set any fee increase for the yard waste service. To raise the price of that service by 70% is ridiculous..and makes the city look like a bunch of idiots. This is just another example of why people are leaving this city or not moving here at all.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why people think the dump permit fee should be increased. Some people choose to pay less and go to the dump themselves rather than pay for the yard waste program. If you're not happy with the increase, then get a dump permit instead for less $ and take it yourself.

Anonymous said...

Brainy:

the service is not provided 12 months a year, but only 7 or 8.

Why a 70% increase: why not just $5.00?

Next Mr. Ward will want to charge each house for tras pickup.

Unfortunately I see an increase in roadside dumping if this goes through.

Anonymous said...

I use the service, and I am pissed! I agree the dump fee should be increased to make up for any short falls in yard or household pick-up services. I think the 20 fee for the dump has been at that rate for what like 10 years now..

Anonymous said...

Why should everyone pay for the few lazy people who can't find space in the precious yards to make a compost pile? No way should the city subsidize this. Raise the fee and tell people to take it or leave it. If they put yard waste in their regular trash cans then fine them. Having this yard waste pick-up is a luxury, not a right. It is a non-essential service that only a small portion of the city uses. I have neighbor who's property borders woods. They can easily dump yard waste on their border, but choose not to. IF the fee goes up, maybe the will. This town is spoiled with all of the services that we have, and we have gotten to the point where we think they are normal and we expect them. Try fending for yourself instead of relying on your neighbors to take care of you. If your neighbors volunteer that is one thing, but to make them is another.

Anonymous said...

I agree the dump permit should be increased to pay for the increase in the yard waste program or service whatever you call it. Plus what has the city made with all the metal they have been recycling at the dump this last year...how do you find that out?

Anonymous said...

There is no way that all but 1,000 households compost their yard waste. They're stuffing it in their trash barrels and getting away with it.
Who is going to check in the trash and issue fines for this? The same people who are calling for this would scream bloody murder if the city hired someone to snoop in the trash and see if people were following the law.
I agree that the proposal is not a high fee to responsibly take care of yard waste. However, who decides what is essential and what is not? This seems essential to me, since I know most people who choose not to pay for the service but have a yard are illegally disposing of waste.
There is not a fee for recycling. The city should do everything to encourage that. There is not a fee for using the library or attending school. There is no fee to look something up in the city clerk's office or to call the fire department if your house is burning. There is no fee to hang out at the senior center, either. Maybe that's not essential.

What is essential? We all have to live with each other and everyone should pay their fair share and show a little more tolerance for fellow citizens and a little more support for a cleaner, more responsible world.

Anonymous said...

4:20;

Actually, I would love the idea of each house paying for trash pickup. Living in a condo I'm required to pay taxes which part of goes towards trash pickup, but the city has an ordinance that doesn't allow me to use that trash pickup. I am required by the city to have an outside service pickup my trash. I'm double-paying for a service I can't use (not that I don't, I can't by law).

I use the transfer station all the time for my recycles as it's the easiest for me.

I can't believe that people need to get rid of yard waste. Compost, fertilize, you name it, it's out there and free. If you want to get rid of it outside your property, pay for it.

If you don't want to use the city service, hire a landscaper and see what they would charge for the pickup of the yard waste. $85 won't look so bad after that.

Bob Boudreau said...

As someone who uses the yard waste program, I feel that $85 a year is STILL a great deal for the service that I have chosen to partake in.

I believe that any non-essential service that is offered voluntarily to the citizens of Bristol should pay for itself at a minimum.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the city will consider the suggestion to pick up every other week.
Clearly, if necessary, large volume users could acquire another barrel.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how suggesting people should be composting their own yard waste is analogous with not wanting to keep the earth clean or with not wanting to help your neighbor. This increase should be carried only by the people that use the service.

Anonymous said...

The City shouldn't even offer this "service." The State wants people to recycle. Even if the City recycles the yardwaste it picks up, unnecessary fuel and manpower is utilized.
I use a mulching mower and have never put out any yardwaste in any manner. All my leaves are mulched back into the lawn as are the grass clippings.
Get over your over-manicured, best lawn in the neighborhood, I use more fertilizer than you do, my grass is greener than yours attitude and we will all be better off.