BG residents to see new garbage fee on utility bills

City truck picks up recyclables

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

There’s good news and there’s bad news for Bowling Green residents using city trash and recycling services in 2018.

The bad news is garbage and recycling pickup is now going to cost residents $13 a month.

The good news is residents will no longer have to store their unwanted brush or outdated couch until the city’s scheduled large item and brush pickups. Residents can call to schedule the pickups whenever it fits their needs.

The changes are for any residents currently receiving trash and recycling services from the city – those in one- or two-family homes. The garbage fee was tacked on by City Council last year as the least bad of the options offered to make up for a deficit in the city’s general fund.

The new $13 monthly fee is expected to raise approximately $800,000 for the city coffers.

“That’s council’s goal,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator.

City officials are unsure if the switch to individual rather than citywide large item and brush pickup weeks will save the city money.

“We don’t know,” Fawcett said. “We’re kind of going out on a limb here,” no pun intended.

“We’re hoping it will make it much more efficient to collect those items,” since public works employees may be able to incorporate the brush and large item pickups into their daily routines.

Details of the individual pickup program have not been ironed out – such as if there will be a limit on the number of times residents can request the special pickups, or how long in advance they need to call.

“We’re working on the details at the moment, but the overall goal is to make the service more accommodating,” Fawcett said.

So as residents tear out old shelving, or overgrown branches, they don’t have to plan around a city-wide pickup dates. “You can simply call and get them scheduled for collection, as opposed to having to stick it in the garage,” until the city-wide collection is held, he said.

The monthly $13 fee for trash and recycling pickup will show up on city utility bills – itemized much like the different utility services such as water, sewer and electric. Residents will begin to see the fee on their utility bills with the January billing cycle – invoiced in February. Because of the billing software and the timing of implementation, the fee may be listed on the January utility bills but the charge amount will be zero.

For residents who have more than the standard one trash container and one recycling container, there will be an additional $5 fee per container per month added to utility bills.  During the first two months of 2018, there will be a grace period to allow residents to decide if two containers are needed or not, Fawcett said.

“If they don’t want it, we’ll pick it up,” he said. Public works should be notified at 419-354-6227, otherwise the $5 per month per extra container fee will go in to effect beginning March 2018.

Residents are encouraged to visit the city’s website for more information and details as they are formulated for the brush and large item pickups. Residents may call the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227 with questions.

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