A Napoleon committee is considering changing the rules regarding trash pickup to allow citizens to put out more than one bag each week.
Jeff Comadoll, chairman of the Napoleon Water, Sewer, Refuse, Recycling and Litter Committee, proposed the change Monday night. Currently, residents pay a fee on their utility bill, part of which is used for refuse pickup and the city’s recycling program.
Under the current system, residents are allowed to place one garbage bag out for pickup per week. If additional bags are needed, a $2 sticker must be purchased and attached to the extra bag or bags.
“Over the years we’ve charged our citizens an outrageous amount of money for picking up garbage,” Comadoll said. “The fund is very healthy, and I think it’s time give back to the citizens.”
City Manager Joel Mazur estimated such a move would reduce the revenue from the trash bag stickers by 75-80%, going from roughly $32,000 per year to about $12,000.
He also pointed out there would likely be an uptick in trash tonnage, which would also lead to more expenses for the city.
“I think we can handle an extra bag, but I just caution that though we have a healthy balance in the sanitation fund, that’s with good rates from the landfill right now and we have to account for increasing rates for recycling,” Mazur said.
Committee member Ross Durham expressed his support for the change as long as it didn’t lead to an increase in rates for citizens.
Committee member Lori Siclair expressed her concern that people may put more garbage out than necessary simply because they would be allowed to do so with two bags.
“My concern (environmentally) would be that it would encourage more garbage,” Siclair said. “If you can put two bags out a week, will you? Probably.”
The issue was tabled until next month so projection models can be created showing effects of using two bags or possibly lowering the rate or the bag-tag fee.
Mazur said the one-bag limit was initially instituted many years ago as a way to encourage recycling when that program began.
At that time, recycling was profitable but that has changed now and recycling some specific material actually costs money.