Council raises fees for trash pickup

Increases to special trash pickup rates will close the deficit.

City Council voted unanimously Monday to double the rate for special trash pickup from $25 to $50, and raised the charge for each repeat offense within one calendar year from $45 to $100.

City attorney Fred Boeckmann said the charge will go on the violator's utility bill, and the city will work to ensure the correct person is charged in case of inappropriate placement near a multiple-person residence.

The amended ordinance targets frequent and sometimes-illegal trash placement in East Campus. Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe sponsored the legislation.

According to a report prepared by city staff, 61 of the 292 special trash pickups last year were in the East Campus area. All of the collections citywide combined to create a net loss of more than $4,000. The rate increases would close this deficit, the report stated.

"The current rate does not cover our costs," City Manager Bill Watkins said.

Hoppe said the official number of special collections probably is conservative, since residents eventually stop calling to have trash removed.

At the regular council meeting on March 2, former Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku suggested the city change the collection day in East Campus to Monday to pick up trash created by weekend parties, but the council ultimately followed staff recommendations to increase rates.

Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said he wants to ensure residents dispose of trash properly.

"If a person puts trash out on the wrong door, they are in violation of a city ordinance, and I want to make sure they are subject to a ticket or fine for this," he said.

In additional business, the council unanimously accepted more than $9,000 over a four-year period in funds allocated to Boone County through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase 10 Tasers and supplemental equipment for city police officers. The Columbia Police Department ultimately would like to have Tasers for all members of its force.

"This will help us continue to build our number until we do have enough Tasers for everyone," CPD Chief Kenneth Burton said.

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