Council rejects garbage fees; mayor calls special meeting to review options
Time is running out to solve the financial problems at Superior's city-owned landfill. The operation is facing more than a $1 million deficit next year. And after the City Council on Tuesday rejected creating $9.75 monthly fee for garbage service...
Time is running out to solve the financial problems at Superior’s city-owned landfill.
The operation is facing more than a $1 million deficit next year. And after the City Council on Tuesday rejected creating $9.75 monthly fee for garbage service to support the landfill, Mayor Bruce Hagen said Wednesday that he’s going to call a special session of the Council to review the city’s options.
Early next month the Council will begin to review its tax levy supported budget for core city services - a budget expected to begin with a more-than-$700,000 hole to fill after the fee to support the landfill was rejected.
Hagen has said many times over the past two years that he won’t support cuts to the city’s core services - police, fire and public works - to pack trash, and Tuesday night he said that could mean privatizing garbage collection in Superior.
During a news conference Wednesday, Hagen said the Council would receive a presentation from Waste Management, which has proposed providing the city’s collection service and purchasing related equipment and trucks. The service would cost $11.25 per can per month for garbage cans of the size offered by the city now. The company would offer smaller cans at modestly lower rates.
City administrators had recommended a $9.75 fee per month for city service to maintain the level of service people receive now. That included spring and brush cleanups, hazardous waste services and free landfill days.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilor Dan Olson recommended a lower fee. He recommended residents pay $7.75 per month, which would have left the landfill enterprise fund without a cash reserve.
Several councilors, citing that as fiscally irresponsible and problematic because it would have maintained a deficit for three years in the landfill fund, rejected the lower fee. Only Olson, and Councilors Denise McDonald and Graham Garfield supported the reduced fee.
Councilor Esther Dalbec said she wouldn’t support any fee for garbage service because people in her district already are struggling to make ends meet. She said Wednesday that her vote wouldn’t change even with the special session next week.
Few councilors were willing to implement the $9.75 fee. Councilors Olson, McDonald, Garfield, Esther Dalbec, Warren Bender and Mike Herrick voted against the fee.
Councilors Jack Sweeney, Dennis Dalbec, Tom Fennessey and Bob Finsland voted to retain the city service with the $9.75 monthly fee because they said it was the fiscally responsible way to manage the financial troubles facing the landfill enterprise fund.
For the full story, pick up Friday's Telegram