Trash talk analysis: Bloomington city councilmembers want to rethink cart fees

The roughly 6,000 Bloomington residents who currently pay the city $11.61 a month for weekly pickup of their 64-gallon trash cart, could see that amount more than doubled—to around $24 a month.

That kind of increase would come from applying some assumptions floated at city council sessions—like eliminating general fund support for trash pickup, and increasing rates only for medium and large carts, not for the smallest size.

While the amount and the timing of an increase is not clear, some Bloomington city councilmembers are looking at a significant increase to trash collection fees and possibly a different approach to the rate structure. Continue reading “Trash talk analysis: Bloomington city councilmembers want to rethink cart fees”

Bin there done that: Bloomington council OKs garbage fees retroactively, preps for report

At its regular Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council ratified garbage collection fees that expired nearly a year ago, on Nov. 1, 2020.

Sanitation worker uses a mechanical arm to empty a Bloomington solid waste cart. Screengrab from city of Bloomington video.

In the future, the council won’t have to worry about fees expiring. That’s because on Wednesday, the council eliminated the city code’s entire “sunset” clause for the fees.

The sunset clause was added as an amendment, when the council adopted the 2017 ordinance that set the fees for the new system of refuse carts.

The clause was intended to trigger a review of rates, after sufficient data had been collected by public works staff from the new system.

Wednesday’s action did not raise garbage collection rates.

Based on March 22, 2017 meeting minutes, the council was supposed to undertake a rate review last year with an eye towards possibly providing a rebate to residents who generate less garbage.

Based on the meeting minutes, it appears that the debate on the exact date of the sunset clause lasted about an hour. The initial date proposed was July 1, 2019, but public works director Adam Wason said if there were to be a sunset date, he’d prefer Nov. 1, 2020. Wason said the later date would allow more data to be collected.

On Wednesday, the ordinance passed by the city council was approved at the same meeting on the same day when it was first introduced, which required and received a unanimous vote.

Under state law, the council is able to ratify the authorization of the fees retroactively, according to assistant city attorney Larry Allen.

City council president Jim Sims said the public works department is scheduled on Oct. 20 to deliver the report that the department would have given last year. That seemed to help head off extensive council discussion of solid waste issues, which came up during the council’s hearings on the public works departmental budget. Continue reading “Bin there done that: Bloomington council OKs garbage fees retroactively, preps for report”