Garbage bills to fall by $3 a month

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FRANKLIN—Franklin residents will pay $3 less a month for garbage pickup starting July 1.

Last month, the Southeastern Public Service Authority’s Board of Directors voted to reduce the fee for Franklin and other localities to dump garbage at its landfill from $170 per ton to $150 per ton.

The regional garbage authority estimated Franklin would produce 4,700 tons of garbage for the year. The city, however, estimates that number will be closer to 5,160 tons.

“Historically, our staff’s estimates have been closer to what we’ve actually experienced than SPSA’s,” said City Manager June Fleming.

Residential customers in the city currently pay $46.36 per month for garbage pickup and disposal.

On Monday, Fleming presented the council with two options to deal with the reduced tipping fee. The first used the city’s projection of the garbage tonnage and would reduce monthly bills to $43.41. The second option uses SPSA’s projection of tonnage and would reduce bills to $41.44.

Fleming said SPSA’s projections have been too conservative in the past.

If tonnage exceeds the estimated amount, she said, “We would have to go back at end of the year and make an adjustment in the billing and have people pay more.”

Fleming recommended the first option and said if the tonnage turns out lower than expected, customers’ bills could be credited.

“It seems to me a simple decision to go with the $43—and so we collect an extra $2—we may have some capital expenses it wouldn’t hurt to offset,” said Mayor Jim Councill.

While no vote was taken, the consensus of council was to go with option one, but no decision was made on what to do if there is excess money collected.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson said she wanted “to be clear about the outcome,” if the city’s tonnage is lower than expected.

“If we leave it open and an unknown, I’m not sure that that’s the perception I want to leave with the citizens,” she said. “I’d rather for them to know.”

However, other council members said a final decision on whether or not to credit accounts couldn’t be made at this point.

“There are so many unknowns, we cannot intelligently discuss that right now,” said Councilwoman Mary Hilliard. “I think we have to leave it open.”

The new rate will appear in the proposed budget that will come before the council for approval at its next meeting.