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Victoria residents could be paying more for yard waste collection

By DAVID TEWES
Sept. 9, 2010 at 4:09 a.m.


FINAL VOTE ON INCREASE The final vote to adopt the $1.12 monthly rate increase for yard waste collection will be Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chamber at 107 W. Juan Linn St.

The vote will be preceded by a public hearing so residents can air their views of the proposal to their elected officials.

Lupe Rendon isn't thrilled about the possibility of his monthly utility bill increasing to help pay for collection of yard waste in Victoria.

"People that take care of their yards and clean their yards are not going to have anything out there," he said. "That's not fair to them if they have to pay it every month."

Rendon said the city should just charge people whenever they have yard waste collected.

The city council is considering adding $1.12 to the monthly utility bill beginning Oct. 1 for collection of such yard waste as grass clippings, shrubbery trimmings and leaves. That would bump the monthly utility bill from $16.25 to $17.37.

The yard waste is collected on the same day as household garbage and must be in a separate container, such as an old garbage can or recyclable bag.

The council has already approved the proposed increase on the first vote earlier this month. The increase won't become final until the last vote scheduled for Sept. 21.

"The long and the short of it is, the rate we have for yard waste is not paying for itself," said Jerry James, the city's director of Environmental Services. "So, what we're asking for is to increase that rate by $1.12 so it can pay for itself."

The staff asked last year for an increase in the utility bills of $3.68 to help cover the cost of such operations as recycling and yard waste collection. The council approved a $2.50 increase, with 50 cents of that going to yard waste collection.

Darryl Lesak, the city's assistant director of Environmental Services, said the proposed increase now under consideration is less than originally anticipated.

"We've had some improvements in productivity, and we've got a lot of people who have just gotten better at how they put their yard waste out," he said. "We're not having these big, giant piles that we're trying to pick through by hand."

James said the staff has also made budget adjustment, such as putting off buying a new collection truck, to help hold down the cost.

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