Commerce leaders tabled a vote July 19 on a significant hike in trash pickup fees.
Waste Pro, the town’s sanitation service contractor, sent a letter June 30 asking the city to consider a $7.63 increase in its garbage/recycling pickup fees. That increase would bring the monthly cost to $23.34 per residential customer.
In the June 30 letter, Waste Pro said the cost of doing business has increased significantly over the past year. The company requested a much smaller increase in April (an $0.84 increase), which the Commerce City Council approved. But Waste Pro said that slight increase doesn’t cover the cost of service, citing increased prices for labor, equipment and fuel.
But the requested $7.63 hike didn’t sit well with some council members.
“What are the citizens getting for $7 more,” asked council member Johnny Eubanks. “Nothing.”
Eubanks and mayor pro tem Keith Burchett also voiced concerns with the quality of service being offered by Waste Pro.
“Not only are we look at passing on the dollar amount, we’re also passing on the bad quality we’re getting out of it,” said Eubanks. “They’ve got a lot of things they’ve got to clean up before I would give them another nickel.”
“I don’t think any citizen is going to be willing to pay that much more for the service that we’re getting,” said Burchett.
The council plans to get additional information from Waste Pro before deciding to proceed with the company or rebid the contract. The city may discuss alternatives for recycling since much of the current recycling loads are “contaminated” with improper recyclables included in the bins and sent to the landfill.
TAP FEE INCREASE
In other business, the council approved a hike in its tap fees for water and sewerage hookup. Residential water tap fees will go from $2,200 to $4,382 and sewer tap fees from $3,500 to $5,999. Other tap fees for larger industrial lines are much higher, up to $1.1 million for a 12-inch meter for wastewater.
The move comes as a recommendation from a recent study the city commissioned, a study that indicates the town is almost at capacity with its existing water and sewerage systems and will need "significant capital expenditures to meet new demands."
The report notes that recently-approved developments will use 100% of the capacity within the next few years. And unless the town raises its tap fees for new construction, existing customers will have to subsidize that development with higher water and sewerage rates.
Higher tap fees could add to the cost of new housing in Commerce and may alter how developers approach future developments in lot and house sizes and construction materials.
Commerce doesn't currently impose impact fees on new construction.
In other business, the Commerce City Council voted to approve:
•transferring city-owned property at 602 MLK Dr. to the Commerce Industrial Development Authority. The move will allow the property to be leased for an industrial project. The site was previously used as a landfill and the city has been using the property for brush collection and for the police department’s shooting range.
•an updated form for home occupations.
•an alcohol license for Dos Bros Kitchen for beer, wine and liquor by the drink at 2195 North Elm St.
•road closures for the Tigers on the Town Pep Rally, set Aug. 19, from 6:30-8 p.m. Little, Oak and Pine streets will be closed beginning at 5:30 p.m. for setup.