Garbage fee hike delayed

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 22, 2002

At least for now, garbage collection fees won’t be going up.

That’s what the Selma City Council decided last Monday in a close 5 – 4 vote. If the ordinance had passed, collection fees would have increased by $3, the first time an increase would have occurred since the fee was created in 1994.

Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin, who voted against the fee increase, believes that a raise in the fee would have been better if it were instituted over a three-year period instead of all at once.

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Franklin provided information that stated garbage collection costs are $933,000. Last year only $600,000 was collected.

However, according to this same information, a $4 increase would only have brought in an additional $264,000.

The current rate is $8 a month.

Martin voted in favor of the garbage fee.

She stated that Selma is the only city in Alabama that has backdoor pickup twice a week. The fee increase was an attempt to break even.

Martin also said that a raise of the fee from $8 to $11 still isn’t a lot if you consider how much commercial companies charge.

Martin stated that some people can receive an exemption from garbage fees if their income meets certain requirements.

John Barnes, District Manager of Selma’s Social Security Office, stated that programs similar to the garbage fee exemption exist for low income families at Alagasco and Alabama Power, also.

William Swift, President of the Swift Drug Company, is concerned about increased fees when, according to him, there is still money owed to the city in arrears.

Swift also suggested that the city could make garbage collection work like a small business within the city government.

This is an idea that Franklin also supports. She wants garbage collection run in a fiscally responsible way.

According to Lola Sewell, secretary at the General Services Department, backdoor garbage service happens eight times a month while trash is collected four times a month.

Garbage includes household items that are discarded such as banana peels and milk cartons.

Trash, for example, is leaves, old mattresses and refrigerators.