PORT ALLEN — Mayor Roger Bergeron informed the City Council on Wednesday night that while only 20 to 25 percent of the city’s population uses
its curbside recycling program, the amount of recyclable goods being collected annually has steadily increased in tonnage over the past several years.
The mayor is hoping council members who have suggested cutting the service as a way to avoid rate increases for trash collection will rethink their positions.
The mayor has said the city stands to lose about $300,000 over the life of its current contract with Progressive Waste Solutions for residential trash collection.
Bergeron said the city pays the company $19.49 monthly to provide trash pickup and residential garbage pickup for every household in Port Allen.
But the city only charges residents $17 a month for the services.
It absorbs the $2.49 fee to provide curbside recycling to residents.
Last month, the mayor asked the council to consider implementing either an annual increase of 63 cents per year per customer for the next four years, or instituting a $1 increase per customer annually for the next four years to make up for the city’s trash collection revenue shortfall.
But several council members, concerned about how any rate increase would affect people on fixed incomes, especially senior citizens, proposed doing away with curbside recycling because few residents used it.
“I know the conventional wisdom is you don’t want to raise fees in an election year, but also keep in mind we’re not raising water rates, we’re not raising gas or sewer rates this year,” Bergeron told the council during committee meetings Wednesday.
Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence said she has driven through the city during two consecutive recycle pickup days to count recycling bins in front of households for pickup. She said she counted between 165 and 180 bins.
Lawrence previously suggested placing large recycling bins strategically throughout the city where residents could dump recyclables, instead of offering the curbside service.
Councilman Ralph Bergeron said the program started out great when it was implemented but lost traction when the city switched contractors.
Bergeron said he received numerous calls about
recycling goods not being collected by Progressive crews and he believes some residents got confused because the
company was using garbage trucks on weekly recycling routes.
Mayor Bergeron has asked the council to make a decision by Aug. 1 regarding the possible rate increases.