The City of Milford Solid Waste Code requires any resident who needs more than one yard waste container be charged for that container. Initially, residents were charged a flat rate of $60 for the additional can. Earlier in the year, changes were made to the code so that those who required a second yard waste can were billed $12 per month for the can. One resident reached out to council members stating that the cost increased from $60 per year to $144 per year, an increase they felt was significant.
“I asked the solid waste department to put together some figures to see what it costs us to pick up the second can,” Mayor Bryan Shupe said. “These costs include labor, extra time for dumping a second can, fuel and other fixed costs. They found that it costs the city $11.22 to pick up an additional can of yard waste and we are charging $12.”
Councilman Owen Brooks said that he understood the city needing to recover their costs, but since yard waste cans are only used six months out of the year, it seems that it is unfair to require residents to pay for the can year round.
“It just appears as if we are overcharging,” Mr. Brooks said. “Maybe we should consider only charging for the cans for six months rather than all year.” Councilman Chris Mergner said that he felt that might be a workable solution, to only charge for the cans for six months out of the year. Mayor Bryan Shupe said that he would be agreeable to that, but that he recommended that the city allow the residents to keep the cans as costs would rise significantly if employees had to pick up the cans at the end of the season and return them when the season began.
Councilman Mergner said that he could see why people would think the amount was higher than it should be since the trucks were already out there and fuel has already being used. He said that the numbers provided by solid waste clearly showed that the city was charging what it cost them to provide extra service, so he did not see a need to make any adjustments. Council agreed to review the matter and discuss it further at an upcoming city council meeting.
There was also discussion about the $50 bulk pickup fee that was implemented earlier in the year. Councilman Brooks felt that the fee was too high when Kent County offered the service for much less. Mayor Shupe also questioned whether the fee was acting as a deterrent for residents as they may rather leave large items in their yard rather than contact the City to have them removed.
“I don’t know that the fee is too high,” said Councilman Jamie Burk. “I just took a load of stuff to the dump and it was $25. That didn’t include the gas and my time to take it there. I think we need to keep that in mind when we look at this ordinance.”
Mayor Shupe said that he would ask Terri Hudson, City Clerk, to check with other towns to see how they handled bulk items to be sure that Milford was in line with other municipalities. He said that the information would be provided to council at a future council meeting.