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Garbage fees rise in Morris

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 02/3/2018 10:00 AM

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The Town of Morris is hiking garbage fees in a bid to ensure its user-pay system breaks even in three years, says Mayor Gavin van der Linde.

Effective Jan. 1, garbage fees for a single-family residence rose from $156 to $168, and will reach $204 by 2021, an increase of $1 per month.

After a public hearing last week, van der Linde said the increases come a year after a switch to automated carts that saw diversion rates for recyclables and compostables increase.

In years past, the town added garbage fees to residents’ water bills, van der Linde explained, then transitioned to a special tax rate that was partially subsidized by the town’s general operating budget.

"The evolution we’re attempting now is moving to users paying full cost recovery on the garbage pickup," he said.

"It sounds like a lot up front, but that amount was on our taxes anyway."

A town survey found most residents prefer a user-pay system to a taxation increase, he noted.

Landfill fees also rose by 20 percent, further squeezing the garbage budget, van der Linde said.

Garbage collection in Morris is handled by a private contractor. However, residents cannot opt out of curbside pickup, as the service fee is levied on all residential properties.

If diversion rates continue to increase, savings could result, as landfill fees are higher than composting fees, van der Linde said.

He stood by the decision to switch to automated carts, noting pickup is now cheaper and faster.

However, leasing the carts presents an added short-term cost.

"We’re looking at potentially buying the carts in the future. That will help lower our fees again" he said.

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