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Garbage collection fees could be going up in Elizabethton

John Thompson • Updated Mar 28, 2019 at 10:04 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Could there be a $2 or $3 per month increase in the city of Elizabethton’s garbage collection fee?

That is one factor the Elizabethton City Council could consider as the city’s budget for 2019-20 is being developed in the next couple of months. The council held its fourth budget workshop on Thursday.

The current fee to every household that receives garbage pickup is $10 per month per household. The proposed increase would probably bring the total to $12 or $13 per month.

The increase is being considered because the city operates the sanitation department under an accounting classification the state calls an enterprise fund. Most sanitation departments, water departments, public golf courses, and some other services provided by the cities are enterprise funds. The state requires these funds to be completely paid for by the customers of the services. The state does not want city to use local tax revenues to subsidize the enterprise fund.

Another way to add revenue to the enterprise fund would be to increase the fee charge to empty dumpsters. Currently, the city charges $21.85 for each emptying. An increase of an additional $3 per pickup could be considered.

With the additional revenue, the city’s Sanitation Department could pick up some additional functions currently handled by departments funded by city taxes. The most obvious is the collections of bulk refuse, leaves and brush, which are now handled inside the Street Department.

The Sanitation Department currently has eight employees. The expansion would bring two employees over to the Sanitation Department from the Street Department and two knuckleboom trucks to pick up the bulk refuse and brush. As many as six employees are required during the months that fallen leaves are picked up.

The projected additional annual cost would be $195,735, which would be transferred from local taxes to the enterprise fund.

In other major budget items, Elizabethton Street and Sanitation Manager Danny Hilbert said the Sanitation Department needs to purchase a 2020 Mack front loader garbage truck at a cost of $235,000.

The department’s sanitation fund expenses for next year is $1,701,317.

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