Utility rates will hold steady in 2022 after the Superior Finance Committee adopted budgets Thursday, Nov. 18, for the landfill, recycling, stormwater and wastewater for 2022, but costs for using the landfill next year could go up.

In January, the panel plans to begin looking at the rate at the gate for hauling trash to the landfill on Moccasin Mike Road.

“We’re currently at $54 per ton and that was last changed in 2017,” said Todd Janigo, public works director. “There’s been a few different ways that has gone. There was a Leidos report that was done in 2014, and they set some recommendations for the gate rate.”

At the time the report was written, the city of Superior charged $51 per ton and the report recommended the city implement an annual increase of 2% per year to account for inflation.

“It went through one year; it didn’t go through another year,” Janigo said. “It went to license and fees one year. It was an email between two people that the gate rate changed another year. There really hasn’t been anything consistent in how that happened.”

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For consistency’s sake, Councilor Jack Sweeney said the finance committee should be looking at those rates. After all, it’s the finance committee that is responsible for reviewing the city’s enterprise budgets to make a recommendation about adopting them.

At $54 per ton, Janigo said the city isn’t entirely out of the realm of what other landfills charge. He said the impact would likely be felt by businesses in the city that pay for dumpster services and haulers who bring county refuse to the city landfill.

Any gate rate change would not affect the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District because its rate is set by contract.

Based on volume, Janigo said for every dollar the city raises the gate fee, it generates about $10,000 for the city.

“Don’t get me wrong; $10,000 is a lot of money, but in relation to a $7 million budget it’s not a huge amount of money,” Janigo said.

With the gate rate last changing in 2017, Sweeney said that suggests it’s time for the city to raise its price.

“Your recommendation would be to bring something back after the first of the year?” Councilor Keith Kern asked.

“We’re going to catch up, for the lack of a better term,” Janigo said. “We can still be very competitive in the area.”

The finance committee’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the year is Jan. 13, 2022.

The city council will consider the landfill, recycling, stormwater and wastewater budgets on Dec. 7.