Earle Kimel Staff Writer @earlekimel
VENICE — After more than a year researching how much it costs the city of Venice to collect and dispose of solid waste, a seven-member panel will recommend that the city raise its rates during a presentation Tuesday afternoon to the Venice City Council.
In a memo to the council, Lee Lichtle, chairman of the stakeholders group, said the proposed fee schedule would both be fair to all users — residential and commercial — and make sure the solid waste fund is financially stable well into the future.
A 2016 report from Kessler Consulting recommended raising rates and the city did raise its rates for solid waste and recycling by 5 percent last October.
Today the group — in what may be its last report to the council before it’s dissolved — will recommend additional increases for the next five years:
■ A 5 percent increase in October from the current $17.68 per month rate for single can pick-up to $18.56 per month.
■ That would be followed by another 5 percent in 2018 to $19.49 per month; a 4 percent increase in 2019 to $20.27; a 3 percent increase in 2020 to $20.88; and a 1 percent increase in 2021 to $21.09.
Venice rates are currently lower than all neighboring Sarasota County municipalities. In Sarasota, residents pay $22.66 per month; North Port residents pay $20.75; and Longboat Key residents pay $14.86. Of those, only Venice and Longboat Key residents have garbage picked up twice a week instead of once. In unincorporated Sarasota County, residents pay $13.29 per month for once-a-week pickup.
For roll-off containers, the group is recommending doubling the rates over the next two years: raising it from $105 per pull plus $2.63 a day to $157.50 per pull this October, and to $210 per pull plus $3.95 per day in 2018.
The group is recommending eliminating fees for special household collections, and no changes to commercial waste bin rates.
The rate increase should pay for a fleet purchase and replacement program and fund about $135, 000 per year in debt service to pay off construction of a new solid waste facility.
The city’s solid waste fund is an enterprise fund that, in theory, should not spend more than it collects through its rates. The proposed rates are designed to both continue a move toward automated collection and fund the planning and construction of a new solid waste facility, since the city is outgrowing its current one.
This fiscal year, the solid waste fund will run a $1.3 million deficit, which will eat into cash reserves.
Image by Ray_Shrewsberry from Pixabay