The city had not increased the fees since 2010 for most residents and not since 2009 for residents 65 and older.
The fee includes weekly yard waste and recycling collections.
It costs the city about $3 million annually to operate and support the sanitation department, which has 16 drivers. The new fee increase will give the city about $300,000 in additional revenue for the sanitation department over the next year.
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We have immediate need for six trucks, four of which are critical.
Ward 4 Alderman Raffi Ovian
The sanitation department’s annual costs include about $18,000 to pay for a company to accept the recyclable items such as aluminum cans and plastic milk jugs collected by the city. Finance Director Jamie Maitret noted that it’s worth paying this fee because it prevents the items from going to the landfill and lowers the amount of landfill fees the city has to pay.
Ward 2 Alderman Mike Buettner, Ward 4 Alderman Raffi Ovian, Ward 7 Alderman Phil Elmore and Ward 7 Alderman Dennis Weygandt voted against the $2 increase for most residents and the $1 increase for seniors.
The measure was supported by Ward 1 Alderman Ken Kinsella, Ward 1 Alderman Joe Hazel, Ward 2 Alderwoman Jane Pusa, Ward 3 Alderman Kent Randle, Ward 3 Alderman Scott Tyler, Ward 4 Alderman Johnnie Anthony, Ward 5 Alderman Ed Dintelman, Ward 5 Alderwoman “Shelly” Schaefer, Ward 6 Alderwoman Mary Stiehl, Ward 8 Alderman Roger Barfield and Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton. Ward 6 Alderman Andy Gaa was absent.
“We have immediate need for six trucks, four of which are critical,” said Ovian, who argued the city should levy a higher fee.
Ovian said that by not approving a larger increase, the City Council is “not telling the people the truth” and that he doesn’t want to have to ask residents for another increase next year. He said the increase should have been at least $3 for most residents and $2 for seniors.
Weygandt, who is a retired truck driver, said he supports a larger increase because the city needs to replace its aging fleet of trash trucks.
I think it’s a start that’s reasonable and fair.
Mayor Mark Eckert said of the $2 increase
“It’s ridiculous, the trucks are falling apart,” Weygandt said. “You need new trucks.”
Maitret told the council that money is in this year’s budget for one new trash truck.
Mayor Mark Eckert supports the $2 increase.
“I think it’s a start that’s reasonable and fair,” Eckert said of the increase.
Eckert said city officials will continue to analyze the costs of running the sanitation department. “I’m not saying this solves our problem,” he said of the increase approved Monday.
Buettner said he received calls from residents on fixed incomes and that any increase would be a hardship for them.
Kinsella said residents in his ward want the aldermen to be “as conservative as we can” in deciding how high the fees should be.
City leaders said they began to discuss whether to raise the rates about a month ago when the city received a notice that the fee to dumps waste in a landfill was going up.
City officials checked with other towns to see how Belleville’s rate compares to other services. O’Fallon residents pay Waste Management $21.55 a month and this includes yard waste pickup and biweekly recycling collection.