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Garbage rates rise with fuel surcharges

Garbage rates rise with fuel surcharges

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008 3:03 pm
By: By Sabrina Bates, Chief Staff Writer

Martin board members were at a loss Tuesday night when they discovered the cost of fuel will play a significant impact on garbage rates for city residents. Mayor Randy Brundige explained to the board of aldermen that fuel surcharges imposed by Barker Bros. Waste Co. have increased for the city by more than four times the amount charged last year. Aldermen were stunned to hear the city will be asked to pay $15,000 a month for a fuel surcharge from the waste company as opposed to the previous amount of $3,500. “There are people out here living on fixed incomes. We can’t continue to go up in prices. It’s a problem and a strain on their budget,” Alderman Bill Harrison said. Brundige replied it was something they do not enjoy doing, but the price increase to garbage rates is out of necessity. “The solid waste fund has been in the hole for 15 years and it has never come out. The city absorbed the fuel surcharge last year. We cannot do that this year. The state auditors will make us one day get this fund out of the red and back to zero,” Brundige added. Alderman Danny Nanney asked if the company would consider fluctuating the fuel surcharge to reflect market prices as gas prices decrease. “We are going to ask them that. I’m sure it would be considered, but only on a quarterly basis,” Martin City Recorder Chris Mathis stated. Board members discussed reopening the city’s landfill to take in its own garbage, but eventually determined there was not enough land to house all of the residents’ waste. As a waste management company, Barker Bros. is the only provider of solid waste removal and disposal within Northwest Tennessee. With the significant increase in the fuel surcharge, residents can expect to see a 20 to 30 percent increase in their service payments. In water and sewer budget news, inflation is to blame for a four percent increase being considered for water and sewer customers within the city of Martin. “This is a cash-strapped fund. Materials continue to increase in price and the costs of materials are dramatically higher that they were before,” Brundige explained. He said a customer who paid $60 for water and sewer could anticipate an increase of $2.40. The natural gas fund will not be oblivious to an increase as well with the rising costs of fuel across the board taking its toll on residential customers who rely on the fuel for heat this winter. Public Works Director Billy Wagster explained co-generation, or the use of natural gas to produce electricity, is a big factor in the market price increase of natural and propane gases. Residents utilizing those heating fuels can also expect price increases for those products. While the water and sewer, natural gas and solid waste budgets have yet to be approved by Martin board members, those budgets will be up for a vote Monday evening during the board’s formal session. The Martin board of mayor and aldermen are scheduled to meet at 5:15 p.m. next Monday. The meeting is open to the public. WCP 10.09.08

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