Changes to waste pick-up in WL being considered

Mar 26, 2013

The City of West Lafayette is looking to change its trash ordinance. The main component is a proposed increase for residents in the cost of trash, recycling and yard waste. The current $9 a month rate would go up to $16.

Council President Ann Hunt says the last increase was 20 years ago, and the cost of providing the services has gone up since then.

“If you look at, in particular, gas prices – and a big percent of the street department (budget) is gas prices,” she says. “In 1993 gas prices were from $1.05 to $1.27. When I got gas last week it was $3.86.”

Hunt says the proposal includes a hardship waiver for low-income residents and also requires trash containers to have lids that can close tightly. The goal of that is to prevent water and debris from infiltrating into gutters and storm water systems.

Clerk-Treasurer Judy Rhodes says the Wastewater Utility financial plan assumed a $16 amount for 2014 planning purposes, however an effective date for any change has not been determined.

As a council member in 1993, Rhodes says she co-authored the last increase in the trash rate.

“A bipartisan effort to raise the fee from $4.50, I believe, to $9,” she says. “Never did we believe that it would be 20 years before the fee was adjusted, because city code provided a review by the council, annually.”

Rhodes calls the proposed increase an example of fiscal accountability on the part of the council.

An effort to update the trash ordinance in West Lafayette failed three years ago. Mayor John Dennis vetoed that attempt to make changes, which included a tiered system, known as “pay as you throw.”

“There was a tagging system, a metered process that was complicated,” he says. “And let’s be clear on that veto. It wasn’t a veto predicated on my personal feelings of the ordinance. A fairly comprehensive assessment of the community came in and they were overwhelmingly against that type of a system.”

Dennis says he’s cautiously optimistic the ordinance change will be approved. The council will discuss the plan at its precouncil meeting Thursday afternoon. They expect public comments during Monday night’s council meeting. You can see the proposal HERE.