The Baton Rouge Mayor’s Office is concerned that the Metro Council will block a fee increase related to garbage pick up and recycling. They released a letter this week stating that such action would result in service reductions.
The Metro Council is expected to vote on the fee increase tomorrow, which coincides with trash collection and recycling contracts they approved in August.
In August, the council voted in favor of renewing the current garbage collection contract until 2018 and modifying the recycling contract so that it could continue to process glass. The administration had previously proposed cutting glass service as a means to keep costs down. But council members and other members of the public expressed their desire to keep glass in the recycling package.
The administration told the council at the time that monthly payments would be raised from $19 to $20 a month to accommodate the new contracts.
But despite approving the contracts, which outlined the rate increases, some members of the council expressed resistance the following month when they were asked to separately vote for the fee increase. The item was deferred until tomorrow’s meeting.
William Daniel, chief administrative officer, said if the council doesn’t want to increase fees they will have to cut services. He said it could likely come in the form of the recycling program.
“People don’t think that it’s optional here, but in reality it is optional,” he said of the recycling service.
In his letter to the Metro Council, he points out that the parish Plan of Government requires that residents pay the full cost of garbage services.
“If the monthly fee remains at $19, the cost of the services in the contracts previously approved by the Council will exceed the user fees by $2.8 million by the end of 2017,” the letter reads. “Since it would not be the recommendation of the Administration, nor will time allow for a property tax election, the only option to avoid a deficit in the program is to reduce services.”