COVINGTON — Covington Council held a trash services workshop this week to go over their trash and recycling program, including reviewing their expenses, revenues, annual volumes collected, equipment available, goals achieved, and future goals.
The trash program currently has approximately 1,113 customers. The monthly trash charge in effect since July 2014 is $16.50. The monthly recycling charge since that same date is $2.50.
According to information provided by Village Administrator Mike Busse, in 2013, the trash program’s expenses were greater than its revenue, with an expense of $246,784 and a revenue of $233,421. In 2014, the figures turned around, with an expense of $229,689 and a revenue $239,239. In 2015, the expense was $227,250 and the revenue was $253,316.
Busse explained that the village has seen expenses go down by decreasing their labor and decreased fuel costs. Busse also stated that the Miami County Commissioners and the transfer station “did a great job of negotiating tipping fees,” which decreased as well.
The trash program will see their expense “go up slightly this year” after the village added a full-time person, according to Busse. For 2016, the village is anticipating a surplus of approximately $13,000 in their trash program.
In regard to the annual volume of trash the program has collected, the village collected 934.83 tons in 2012; 976.19 tons in 2013; 968 tons in 2014; and 1,012 tons in 2015. The annual volume of recycling items was 179.65 tons in 2012; 161.5 tons in 2013; 176 tons in 2014; and 164.16 tons in 2015.
For completed goals in 2015 for the program, Busse listed the following items:
• Purchased 200 containers that 96 hold gallons and 100 containers that hold 48 gallons in January 2015
• Continued to promote the recycling program through education and the implementation of toters
• Ongoing adjustment for service routes to facilitate efficiencies
The following goals were listed for the future:
• Continue community recycling education programs
• Explore the replacement of the 1997 trash truck with a 20-yard, single-axle truck with dual tippers and a winch for dumpster service
• Explore low-volume, curbside trash service
• Explore the purchase of a cardboard bailer
• Investigate new revenue sources, such as with dumpsters
• Purchase additional trash and recycling bins
“We need to make sure we do it correctly,” Mayor Ed McCord said about the possible low-volume trash service. McCord explained that the village needs to be “very precise with who we start it with.”
“It’s easier to start small and expand out,” McCord said, adding that he is “all for it,” but wants the village to do a good job planning the program first.
Busse also mentioned the possibility of implementing small increases in the monthly trash and recycling charges to happen over time versus waiting to implement a larger increase when the village is in more of a need. Busse stated that fuel prices are not going to stay low forever, so the trash program needs to be prepared to pay for higher fuel prices when they go back up.
“I think we can raise rates in small increments and implement this low-volume trash (service) at the same time,” Busse said.
McCord used the example of a small increase of 50 cents added to the monthly trash charge and 50 cents added to the monthly recycling charge, for a total $6 increase for customers for the first year.
Council member Joyce Robertson said she was against the increase and council member Lois Newman agreed.
Council member Bud Weer stated that the small increases would be “a whole lot easier to do” and “received a lot better” rather than waiting until the village has to raise the costs by larger amounts.
“I’m in favor of the increase at this time,” council member Scott Tobias said, adding that he was also in favor of replacing the 1997 truck. “I don’t think the increases are that much.”
The village is going to work on putting more information together about the possible implementation of small increases to the monthly trash and recycling charges to happen over time in addition to the possible low-volume trash service.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall