Small trash pickup rate hike considered by council

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 21, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A proposed increase in the cost of garbage collection has been making waves among the St. John Parish Council, as the increase would provide more service, but at an additional cost to the consumer which some council members think is unfair.

The increase is part of a plan introduced by Parish President Nickie Monica and Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom. The current rate for the twice-weekly collection of one garbage can is $16.34 for residents younger than 65 and $15.34 for residents over 65.

Monica’s plan to increase the rate collection by $1 per month would help to pay for additional services being provided such as twice weekly debris pickup along with the normal trash collection, something that was not available under the parish’s previous waste management contract.

Residents with debris also have the option to use the parish provided dumpsters as part of the five-year $2.1 million contract St. John signed this month with SWDI LLC. However, the dumpsters located behind the parish council building have also given council members such as Dale Wolfe and Allen St. Pierre a reason to be concerned.

St. Pierre would like residents to keep the trash in front of their homes and refrain from using the dumpsters since it’s a $150 cost to the parish each time SWDI empties one of the bins.

&#8220I think people just need to adjust themselves and do the right thing and wait those two days a week and not have to put the garbage in these dumpsters costing us a lot of money,” St. Pierre said.

Wolfe’s primary concern is that the trash would just end up in other places if residents have no place to dump.

&#8220If we give up these dumpsters, the trash and debris is going to end up in old St. John Parish,” Wolfe said. &#8220I’m asking that we maintain what we haveŠand if we don’t want to pass it on to the consumer, let’s get it out of our budget.”

Council member Sean Roussel said that regardless of the increase, the parish residents would still feel the effects from what is decided. Roussel feels a rate increase penalizes the residents but removing the dumpsters would also lead to more problems.

&#8220It’s a rock and a hard place here. Contractors are dumping, out of parish residents are dumping,” Roussel said. &#8220If we police the dumpsters the right way, it will help.”

The council and administration feel that implementing constant security of the dumpsters and requiring residents to show a valid license proving they are from within the parish would alleviate much of the outside dumping.

Robottom and Monica both feel their plan is solid, and for an increase in service, you’re going to have to pay more.

&#8220There is no penalty involved here. We’re attempting to provide a better service,” Robottom said. &#8220I think we negotiated a contract that is a lot better than many of our neighbors who had a $4 and $5 increase in garbage rates. To go up $1 and get additional services is very different from going up and not getting anything.”

The plan must still go before the council before it can be voted on.