A fee increase for trash, recycling and yard waste collections in West Lafayette seems likely. Council members discussed a proposal Thursday afternoon to raise the monthly rate from $9 to $16for residents.
Councilor Eddie VanBogaert expects the measure to pass, but thinks it still may need fine-tuning. He says the proposed changes would put more of a burden on some low-income residents who cannot opt out of fees.
"I've had people contact me and say, 'I don't want trash service, I've eliminated all my waste,' and I say, 'well sorry, you're still going to receive this bill.' So it's mandatory,” he says. “Given the fact that it's going up by as much as it is, we have to have an exception in there that works for people that are struggling."
The revised ordinance does offer a 50% reduced rate for low-income residents.
VanBogaert says it’s important to bump up fees now, to keep up with the increasing cost of providing service. The last increase in trash rate came in 1993.
The latest change comes three years after a previous amendment involving a tiered system of fees was vetoed by Mayor John Dennis. He says efforts by council members to revamp the ordinance came at the right time.
"There were a lot of things that we needed to address because it's been 20 years and it's so antiquated that a lot of what we had in the original ordinance didn't even apply. So it made the ordinance basically unenforceable. So I think the ordinance is good, it's very well-crafted."
Dennis says if the ordinance gets final approval from city council, it could take affect the following month.
Council members are set to consider it on first reading, along with public comments, at their meeting Monday night.