September 12, 2008

City lawyers to look at yard waste fee hike

City attorneys are looking into the legalities of having the City Council get the last word on fee hikes in the yard waste collection program whose cost is set to rise 70 percent to cover its expenses.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski said he made “a bad error” in mistakenly backing the increase from $50 to $85 annually during a recent Public Works Board meeting.
“It was my fault for letting it slip through,” Rimcoski said. “I dropped the ball.”
But, he said, the council “should have the final say” rather than letting department jack up fees so sharply without any direct council involvement.
“If we’re going to take the grief for it,” Rimcoski said, then politicians ought to have a role in setting fees that residents have to pay.
Mayor Art Ward said that departments have to take the responsibility of making sure that fees cover the cost of operating programs.
“They should have the jurisdiction over their operation,” the mayor said, adding that he’s ordered them to review their fees in anticipation of the next budget to make sure that fees are keeping up with expenses.
City Councilor Craig Minor said that politicians need to know “when to draw the line” in overseeing charges to residents.
He said that he generally favors letting departments deal with fees themselves or councilors could wind up weighing what library fines should be.
Dale Clift, the city attorney, said his office will take a look at the relevant ordinances and determine the authority for setting fees.
He said that once lawyers figure out which legal provisions apply, they’ll refer the issue to the proper committees, including the council and public works panel.
Public works commissioners hiked the fee for the yard waste collection program this summer after recognizing the $50 annual charge it has had for nearly a decade wasn’t enough to cover rising costs.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...


Engage brain before opening mouth.

Not the first time you dropped the ball.

Anonymous said...

Grow up blogger or go to a kiddie blog.

Anonymous said...

I won't keep the barrel if they go up to $85 a year. Not worth it.

There are 7 people in my neighborhood that all said they won't keep their barrels.

Anonymous said...

A majority of the Public Works Board is made up of the City Council so they do have the last word.

Anonymous said...

Why is Rimcocki or anyone else for that matter making such a big deal out of this? Everything else has gone up tremendously in the last 10 years. This is like a market correction. This is also a non-essential service that is supposed to be paid for by the people that use it. If it is too much, then people will stop using it. This fee should not be off set by taxpayers, as only a small percentage of people use the service.

Anonymous said...

Simply put, the city probably cannot tell us just how much yard waste pickup costs.

Increase the barrel cost and some people will opt out, but the city will probably still continue the sevice, albeit at a increased cost (per barrel) to the city, so in reality, the operation becomes less cost effective.

At the same time, there probably will be increased roadside dumping and/or illegal use of household waste barrels.
Each of these result in additional costs, and in some instances, a less attractive city.

The idea of bi-weekly pickup should be considered, and/or a minimal increase year by year.

But then, that is too logical.

Anonymous said...

8:00 The best solution for them is not to raise the price but to change the pick up from weekly to bi-weekly like they do with recycling.

It's better that they change the pick up cycle than it is to raise the rates. It will cost them less and the residents that use it won't quit the program because of a rate hike.

Anonymous said...


What is the reason that PW is giving for not using the most logical solution which is to change to a bi-weekly pick up?

Anonymous said...

No biweekly pickup because that means less union overtime.

Anonymous said...


Aw Shucks!