AVON PARK — A rate increase or funding from the city’s reserves could pay for a return to twice-a-week garbage collection in the City of Charm.
The item is on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting.
The idea of possibly returning to the twice-a-week trash pickup was prompted by comments from Deputy Mayor Brenda Gray and Mayor Garrett Anderson at a July 24 City Council meeting,
Gray said she heard from several residents who would like to see the garbage collected more frequently.
In January, he said the people he had spoken with wanted the city to collect the garbage twice a week.
“I consistently hear complaints about the once-per-week garbage pickup, either in terms of smell or garbage volume,” Garrett stated Friday in an email to the Highlands News-Sun. “I believe the majority of Avon Park residents want the luxury of the second garbage pickup.”
The agenda item shows it would cost $119,000 more in staffing, fuel costs, and repairs and maintenance.
The funding options are either to increase the sanitation rate by $2 per month or use budget reserves, according to the agenda. As of Sept. 30, 2016, the audited fund balance reserve in the sanitation fund was $1,618,988.
Anderson believes there are many ways to fund a $119,000 annual cost without raising rates.
He noted that the budget shown in the City Council’s agenda packet for Monday’s meeting was presented to the Council in December/January for discussion of the recycling contract.
“If the administration and Council want this to work, it absolutely will,” Anderson said.
Residents need to get on the phone, email or visit their Council members to express what they want to see done, Anderson said.
Councilman Terry Heston said Friday that he had not yet reviewed the agenda.
“I don’t think you would have to charge any more to do twice a week; I haven’t looked at the numbers yet,” he said.
The city had twice-a-week garbage collection, but went to once a week when it started its curbside recycling program five years ago.
To increase participation in recycling, the city opted for once per week residential garbage pickup.
In 2009, the city’s sanitation rate was $20 per month, and now the rate is $15 per month, the agenda notes.