Scottville looking at change in refuse services

December 1, 2013

SCOTTVILLE — One of the benefits of living in a municipality is refuse pickup. Though residents actually pay for the service through their taxes, the cost is often less than if they were to contract the service on their own. In an effort to keep costs down to taxpayers, the City of Scottville continually runs a deficit with its refuse fund. In the month of December, the city commission will decide a solution.

City Manager Amy Williams said refuse costs continue to rise while the city’s refuse revenues are staying steady or slightly declining. Currently the refuse fund is losing approximately $20,000 per year, a loss that is made up by the city’s general fund. “This is something we cannot continue to do or other services will begin suffering,” Williams said. “The reason for the loss is due to the rising cots of the refuse service along with the monitoring costs we have to pay for due to old city landfill (located on West First Street).”

Williams said the city is levying the maximum millage rate allowable, which is the only source of revenue for the fund at this time. A home with a $30,000 taxable value pays $85 a year or around $7 a month in refuse taxes, compared to about $264 a year or $22 a month that a refuse hauler would charge a household.

The city is looking at three options to help offset refuse costs:

– Option 1: Selling refuse bags. Back in the early 1990s until 2008, the city required residents to purchase special garbage bags in order to use the curbside refuse service. Currently Hamlin Township offers a similar service, except those purchasing refuse bags must dispose of the bags at a transfer site. The bags would likely be available in 13-gallon and 30-gallon sizes. “With that service, residents could also place recycling out at the same time using the recycle bins they currently use,” Williams said. Previously, bags were sold at a cost of $6 for a package of 10 13-gallon bags and $12 for 10 30-gallon bags.

“This system would once again generate enough money to pay for the refuse service and also monitoring of the landfill,” Williams said. Under this service the city would continue to offer recycling and yard waste pickup.

– Option 2: Residents contract their own refuse service. Williams said this service would mean residents are on their own, including recycling and yard waste pickup. The city would continue to levy a millage to pay for the landfill monitoring but it would be less than the current millage rate.

– Option 3: Transfer site. The city would construct a refuse transfer site, most likely near the Department of Public Works on First Street. Residents would have to bring their garbage and recycling to the site on the designated days of the week it would be open. Residents would have to transport their yard waste to the DPW as well. Williams said the city is still exploring costs for this option but the millage rate would most likely remain at its current rate.

“Each of these options would be discussed in more detail at our December city commission meetings and residents’ input is important to us,” Williams said. Residents can also call city hall at 231-757-4729 or email City commission meets the Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall, 105 N. Main St.

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