Bath Town Council debates dropping trash pickup
Faced with the prospect of buying a new garbage truck at the cost of $100,000, Bath Town Council held a lively debate on whether to continue providing trash pickup service to town residents.
Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman David Crosby put the matter before council at the Tuesday, August 21 meeting. Crosby said a
new truck is needed to back up the town's one aging garbage truck.
Crosby estimates the cost of a new garbage truck at $100,000. Comvest, LTD Inc., a lease to buy company, quoted Crosby a five year loan at 4.8% interest that would cost the town $24,000 a year, or $2,000 per month.
Town Recorder Margie Allgyer said the town already had a depreciation fund of $1,200 per month and that it would take an additional $800 per month to pay for the new truck.
Crosby said a new truck would probably have to be bought every five years and that this expense would be ongoing. In order for the town to pay for the new truck, the town would have to increase customer bills by 10% Crosby said.
Crosby stated that he was in favor of continuing trash pickup service. Other council members were not so sure.
Councilman and Chairman of the Public Works Committee Kenny Easton, who has borne the brunt of recent garbage truck problems, thought that alternatives should be explored.
"We have to look at the big picture," Easton said.
"How bad off is the truck we have right now," Councilman Scott Merki asked.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer said the maintenance on the town's garbage truck had been kept up to date and that all problems had been fixed. The town recently spent $3,566 on repairs for the truck.
Merki asked if the town could get along with one garbage truck.
"The problem is there is no backup," Recorder Garnet Marsh said.
Merki said he thought that Hancock had an old garbage truck that was only used at town events. He wondered if an arrangement could be made to borrow that truck in an emergency.
Merki also thought a 10% increase in sanitation bills would hurt some businesses and residents.
Crosby said that with a 10% increase to pay for the new truck, customers' bills would rise to approximately $40. He noted that Morgan Sanitation has asked the Public Service Commission for a 30% increase that would raise their bills to $52.
"We always said that if we come to a place where we have to raise our prices above that of the county, then we should get rid of it," Mayor Susan Webster said.
Easton said he didn't think that Morgan Sanitation was the only player in the area. Merki said that other towns use BMI for trash service.
Allgyer said that some services the town provides such as free leaf and Christmas tree pickup would not be free from another trash service. She also said the town's trash service came in under budget last year.
"I would like to say that the only reason we came in under budget is because we were lucky," Easton said.
"If we want to get out of the garbage business, we have to hear what the citizens want," Crosby said.
Webster referred the matter to the Public Works Committee for further review.