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Hobart City Hall

HOBART — Escalating costs of disposing of solid waste could result in trash and recycling collection rates increasing by more than $6.50 per month in Hobart.

The City Council recently approved the first reading of an ordinance that proposes increasing typical residential refuse collection fees from $13.46 per month to $20 per month.

Garbage collection rates in Hobart typically increase by 3% annually, but the rising costs to dispose of trash and recycling prompted the proposal for a more significant rate increase for 2020, officials said.

Earlier this year, the amount Hobart pays for disposal services jumped from $43 per ton to $58 per ton.

Councilman Dan Waldrop said the increase could be met with consternation, but it’s needed to continue providing the service.

“As a country, as a community, we’re all about buying stuff, but we don’t think twice about what has to happen to get rid of it,” Waldrop said. “It costs more and more for anyone to get rid of their garbage and refuse and even now recycling, so that’s what made this kind of mandatory for just about everybody.”

City officials indicated Hobart charges one of the lowest rates in the area for refuse collection.

The increased disposal cost already has exhausted the city’s disposal budget this year and has required the municipality to use funds from other sources.

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Import restrictions involving recyclables that started last year in China are playing a role in the increased cost to dispose of the recyclable materials municipalities collect. Prior to that, the country had been the largest importer of recycled materials.

The Hobart council on Dec. 4 could adopt the ordinance setting the 2020 collection fees.

Lake Station Mayor Christopher Anderson said disposal costs also increased in Lake Station this year, but the community was able to handle the change without adjusting fees, which are currently set at $18.50 per month.

Lake Station anticipated the disposal cost for recyclables to jump by about $80,000.

Lake Station is now in the process of seeking proposals for trash and recycling disposal for 2020, and Anderson hopes the costs will be competitive.

Addressing solid waste collection costs has long been a focal point in Lake Station.

In 2017, the Lake Station City Council considered outsourcing trash and recycling collection, but a contract proposal was denied then with a split vote.

Instead of hiring a private waste hauler, the Lake Station council at that time increased its collection rates to the current $18.50 per month charge.

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