Milford City Council approved an increase in residential solid waste fees by $1.00 per month starting July 1, 2023. The cost for solid waste service in the City of Milford will increase to $31.50 from $30.50. The increase is to cover higher costs in the department. Prior to the monthly increase, council approved a year end budget adjustment transfer into the Solid Waste Department of $26,000.
“As part of the process, we need three years of loan paybacks, three years of small but accumulated surpluses, two years of interest earnings in the solid waste as well as one and two years of the new vehicle and equipment replacement program,” Lou Vitola, Finance Director, said. “Before we needed the $26,000 budget adjustment just to buy that one vehicle. So now we’re basically starting over again. And that is just one highlight, I guess you could say, of why the cost of service rate study didn’t keep pace with actuals.”
Vitola pointed out that there was about a half million in cash in the fund so making payroll was not at risk, something he wanted to make clear should any solid waste employees be listening to the meeting. However, in order to catch up to net zero, a fee increase of $1 per month needed to be approved.
“The rate study for solid waste was completed in December 2019. So, there’s a lot that wasn’t anticipated,” Vitola said. “But with that said other utilities, all three others held up despite the pandemic. And on the revenue side of solid waste, it’s actually a decent projection. We’ve worked 2.7% year over year ahead of what the projection expected because we have growth that study conservatively ignores. But the expense side has just completely exceeded and outstripped those increases due to everything that Mike talked about earlier. So, the fiscal 24 budget does include this dollar in there and that is just to get to just about breakeven. It’s actually a couple of thousand shy of breakeven, but it was a minimum appropriate movement that we need in order to be not just solvent, but prudent in the solid waste.”
Councilman Brian Baer pointed out that the city had done a good job of keeping costs down even with new equipment, confirming that accounts that were delinquent were being managed. Vitola explained that the city was keeping up with delinquent customers.
“I saw that new pickup unit come around in my neighborhood. It’s really nice looking. But, I think you made an important point. I’m just going to re-emphasize that,” Councilman Jason James said. “This solid waste fee on the resolution that we’re looking at now. These amounts were discussed during the budget process. So, this is not, and tell me if I’m wrong, this is not a new first time counsel is seeing as this actually had been discussed and approved in the budget.”
Vitola stated that was correct, that the higher fee was included in the approved budget. There was no public comment regarding the fee increase and the motion passed unanimously.
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