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Victoria landfill charges to increase

By DAVID TEWES
Sept. 19, 2010 at 4:19 a.m.

A bulldozer pushes trash into place at the Victoria landfill. While city dwellers will not see an increase on their bills to cover the cost increase for use of the landfill, county residents outside the city may not be so lucky.

If you want to have your say:

The city council will have a public hearing Tuesday before conducting the final vote to adopt the landfill rate increase.

The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chamber at 107 W. Juan Linn

A city official worries that a planned rate increase at Victoria's landfill could lead to increased illegal dumping.

Republic Waste, which operates the landfill for the city, plans to raise rates Oct. 1. City of Victoria garbage trucks will see a 3.48-percent increase while everyone else will seek a hike of 5 percent.

"It's a necessity for just about any business," said Darryl Lesak, Victoria's assistant director of Environmental Services. "If it's something we don't think is justified, we're going to let them know."

He said there are a number of cost factors involved in running a landfill, including meeting environmental regulations and securing dirt to cover the trash.

Council Member Tom Halepaska said the company needs be careful in determining its rates. "Republic has to be cognizant of the fact that if the rates get too high, customers will go to other landfills."

About 60 percent of the refuse brought to the landfill is household trash and about 40 percent is mattresses, lumber, brick, concrete, sofas and similar materials, Lesak said.

Customers include Waste Management, which collects trash for such cities as Edna and Port Lavaca.

"That landfill is set up to serve anybody within 100 miles of Victoria," Lesak said.

The charge for the city of Victoria will increase from $27 to $27.94 per ton. But Lesak said there will be no increase on the monthly utility bills for residents, partly because of the savings from automating garbage collection.

The charge for all other customers will increase from $36.51 to $38.34 per ton. That includes individuals, other cities and the county of Victoria courtesy stations.

That could have a domino effect for the utility bills of residents in other cities. "I would assume they would pass that cost through," Lesak said.

Wayne Dierlam, one of three Victoria County commissioners who operate courtesy stations, said the county will have to consider whether it will need to increase the rate it charges.

"I'm sure, in time, we're going to have to adjust our fees," he said. "How much, I can't tell you. But it's not something we want to do."

Dierlam said he's concerned that more people may opt to illegally dump their trash in rural areas than pay the higher price. He said that when precinct workers have to clean trash from the roadways, that takes them away from mowing ditches and patching roads.

"Most of our dumping is usually from city residents," Dierlam said. "Out of 10 occurrences, seven will be from out of the city."

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