Trash pick up will cost more in April

Trash collection fees are going up for city residents.

The Kingman City Council voted 6-0 Monday to increase fees from $11 to $11.85 monthly for the twice weekly pick-up of residential trash containers in the city.

A combination of factors, including a $2.70 per ton Mohave County landfill dumping fee increase and escalating fuel costs, prompted the council to approve the rate hike.

Kingman residents and businesses will see the increase reflected on their bill as early as April, said Kingman Financial Services Director Roger Swenson.

"Customers should not be surprised when they get their bill in April," Swenson said.

"We are giving them time to absorb the change."

Another factor contributing to the rising cost of sanitation services is the addition of trucks and drivers used by the sanitation department, Swenson said.

"These issues were presented to the Municipal Utilities Commission (at its Jan.

25 meeting).

They voted 4-0 that the rate be increased by 7.7 percent as soon as possible," he said.

"We know this comes at a bad time with other increases occurring, but there has not been an increase since 1995.

If we do not have another increase until 2005 that is less than the lowest rate of inflation."

Effective Jan 1, the "tipping" (dumping) fees at the county's Mohave Valley and Cerbat sanitary landfills were increased by $2.70 per ton, a 9.3 percent increase.

Two dollars of the increase was recommended by the Mohave County Trash Task Force as a surcharge with the proceeds "to be used to address the 'wildcat dumping' problems throughout the county."

But Mayor Les Byram stated at the council meeting that it is unfair to have only Kingman and Bullhead City residents pay for a county problem, while Lake Havasu City sanitation customers use a private landfill and therefore will not be subject to the charge.

The fees were also increased by an additional 70 cents per ton to recover the county's increased cost of operations at the landfills.

The annual cost to the city of the county's $2.70 per ton rate increase is approximately $55,000 based on the current budget appropriation of $570,000 for these charges.

Kingman has experienced an increase of 77.5 percent in tipping fees paid while the rate per ton has increased by 34.9 percent.

In 1995, close to 16,178 tons of trash was taken to the landfill.

In 2000 that amount grew to approximately 19,561 tons – an increase of 20.9 percent.

The total annual cost of all sanitation department increases is $137,500, including the $55,000 tipping fee increase, a $27, 500 operator expense, $19,000 for a lift truck (eight years – annual), $16,000 for maintenance and $20,000 for fuel, according to information from the city.

The 7.7 percent increased service charge revenue will bring in $134,100 annually to recover most increased costs.

To delay could mean an even bigger increase in fees later, Swenson said.