Dealing with dumpster rates

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The city recently adjusted its commercial dumpster rates which has drawn some complaints from various business owners and citizens, according to the city council.

Adjusting the rates caused the monthly price for pickup of commercial dumpsters to rise. For years West Liberty was charging a fee of $20 to $80, depending on dumpster size, once a month.

However, it was supposed to be charging that $20 to $80 fee per pick up, not per month. According to Interim City Manager Lawrence McNaul the city failed to apply the correct rate because of personnel change during the time when the rates where originally applied.

This has contributed greatly to West Liberty's waste department losing money the last few years. But, with the rate change McNaul believes it will help the department get back into the black.

"The way it should be calculated never made it into the books; unfortunately for six years this has occurred," said McNaul. "With [the change] you're going to see, and this is a rough estimate because we don't know until the money comes in…your'e looking at a possible $145,000 annual revenue."

There are many variables on the number, including the possibility of costumers changing their rate of city pick up due to the newly adjusted prices.

However, McNaul told the Index that some costumers have called around to private companies only to discover the new West Liberty rates are similar.

He added that residential rates are correct. The biggest problem is that the rate adjustment caused a price increase. Even though they've been adjusted now, there's no denying West Liberty businesses were getting a great deal the past few years.

"We applied those rates as they were to be established; unfortunately, although it appears as an increase, [the rates now] are just something that our commercial costumers have not been accustomed," added McNaul.

West Liberty sent out letters to all businesses in town with dumpsters informing them of the price adjustment. For the waste department, the rates go a long way toward making the program self-sustaining once again.

"With that being said we're sitting a lot healthier than it ever appeared prior to that; there are a couple options before you that you can consider," said McNaul.

He believes, now that the rates have been adjusted, the solid waste department can be maintained at a level that doesn't dip into the red so long as the city keeps a constant eye on it.

The council agreed. After some discussion council member Melody Russell motioned that the city stay the course with the updated commercial rates, so long as it continues looking into curbside recycling and landfill-free options. The motion passed 5-0.

"If we do stay the course, we are looking at the curbside recycling issue in the near future, that's not just going to stop. We are looking at that option, but we're just trying to fix what's been broken at this time, or at least get it into better shape," added Mayor Hartman before the vote.
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