Austin’s monthly sanitation fee increases by $5 per customer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Friday, 28 July 2017 12:27


August’s billing for sanitation service will reflect the $5 increase voted in by a majority of the Austin City Council at their special meeting on Wednesday night, July 26.

Mayor Dillo Bush met with five members of the Council at 6 p.m. By 6:10 p.m., the final vote on the third reading of the ordinance had been taken. Councilman Johnnie White voted against the measure in both votes taken at the meeting.

The Council has discussed the financial state of the department during the last four monthly Council meetings. Sanitation operating costs have been pushed to the margin because of repairs needed for both trash packers the city owns.

Among alternate steps considered by the Council was the hiring of a mechanic who could do all of the necessary maintenance on the packers and other city-owned vehicles or contracting out the service to private companies. Several companies sent representatives to one Council meeting to discuss that option, but officials were not receptive to that idea. One city employee would lose his job under the plan, and the city would lose control over local trash collection, Council members felt.

Earlier this year, the Council also explored the idea of setting up its own trash transfer station. Construction of such a facility proved to be prohibitive. Currently, Austin employees take collected trash to a Scottsburg-operated transfer station at a cost of around $5,000 per month.

Adding $5 per month to the sanitation fee should relieve the utility of some financial strain and allow it to save money toward the purchase of a new packer, estimated to cost upwards of $175,000.

Mayor Bush confirmed the increase will be reflected on billings that will be mailed to arrive in customers’ mailboxes on August 1.