VALPARAISO | The city's garbage collection fee is expected to increase by $3 a month to keep up with escalating costs.
The ordinance was introduced at Monday's council meeting and could be acted on at the Aug. 28 meeting. City Administrator Bill Oeding said the current $9 fee, which was enacted in 2005, raises about $900,000, and the increase will bring almost $300,000 more. The business rate is going up from $12 to $15.
Since the fee was enacted, the money has gone to the city's road maintenance and paving to augment the $300,000 in gas tax money the city receives annually. Oeding said the administration also wants to expand the use of the trash funds to include pathways and sidewalks.
"In the last seven years, all the costs have escalated, and we're just trying to keep up with the costs," Oeding said. "It's been well spent, and people can see where the money is going. In seven years, asphalt and all the related fees have gone up substantially."
The cost of a second trash bin also is going up $3 to $9. The new ordinance also is asking that the Public Works Department be given the authority to issue tickets with fines of $50 for violating the provisions. Oeding said the city's code enforcement officer has a difficult time monitoring such violations in addition to keeping an eye out for other code violations throughout the city.
"They would tag the container with a ticket warning the owner, and, if the violation is not corrected, they could write tickets," Oeding said. "They've had the authority to write tickets for snowplowing infractions, but they never have to my knowledge. That could change, too."
He said it's a matter of asking residents to be considerate of their neighbors and not put out couches and other things a week before the pickup date. Instead, it should be put out the night before. The goal is to keep the city looking as attractive as possible, he said.