COVINGTON — The Covington Council reviewed their current trash and recycling program during their meeting Tuesday evening, discussing possible $1 increases to the monthly recycling fee that they will consider during their regular meetings in August.
There are approximately 1,045 refuse customers and approximately 1,148 recycling customers. Village Administrator Mike Busse explained that there are more recycling customers due to some apartment complexes offering their own dumpster service for trash.
The monthly trash charge, which was effective in July 2014, is $16.50, and the monthly recycling charge, which was also effective in July 2014, is $2.50.
Busse went over a cost comparison to see how the village’s fees compared across the county. For both trash and recycling collection, the monthly fees for other local municipalities include: Troy at $17, Pleasant Hill at $18, Piqua at $19.53 for 2018, Piqua at $20.31 for 2019, Piqua at $21.32 for 2020, Bradford at $22.50, Tipp City at $23.67 for their toter rate, and West Milton at $24.
Busse noted that when he spoke with officials at Pleasant Hill, he found that the village of Pleasant Hill is supplementing the cost of collecting trash and recycling with a surplus of funds in their trash fund. When they run out of surplus funds, the village of Pleasant Hill will need to increase their fees.
Busse suggested reviewing the current rate recommendations during the upcoming council meetings in August, currently scheduled for Aug. 6 and Aug. 20, to consider increasing the monthly recycling fee by $1 to a total of $3.50. The council would also consider annual increases of 50 cents to the monthly fee for trash and recycling for mid-2019 through 2024 to cover increasing fuel, toter, labor, and equipment costs.
The village’s trash and recycling program’s current fund balance is $95,036. Busse discussed wanting to increase the balance in that fund due to the village’s need to replace one of the village’s trash trucks with a new automated trash truck in the future and also their need to replace the village’s current leaf vac with a trailer mounted unit in 2019 or 2020.
The total approximate revenues and expenses for Covington’s trash and recycling program in recent years include the following:
• For 2015, the revenue was $253,316 and the expenses were $227,250
• For 2016, the revenue was $249,612 and the expenses were $207,583
• For 2017, the revenue was $262,918, which includes the sale of the 1997 truck, and the expenses were $249,283
The annual volumes of trash collected include: 934.83 tons for 2012; 976.19 tons for 2013; 968 tones for 2014; 1,012 tons for 2015; 1,015 tons for 2016; and 1,011 tons for 2017.
The annual volumes of recycling collected include: 179.65 tons for 2012; 161.5 tons for 2013; 176 tons for 2014; 164.16 tons for 2015; 161.51 tons for 2016, and 164.76 tons for 2017.
Busse mentioned that the village would like to increase the amount of recycling that they collect to help decrease the amount of trash they collect, as the tipping fees for recycling are cheaper than that of trash. The tipping fee for trash through Miami County is $53.80 per ton and the tipping fee for recycling through Rumpke is $20 per ton.
Other considerations for the village’s trash and recycling program include exploring the implementation of a low volume trash service option in July 2019 and the implementation of a dumpster service for residential and light commercial customers in late 2018. Busse also suggested investigating new revenue sources like the dumpster service and the possibility of separating certain materials during their collection to allow for their resale, such as cardboard and aluminum.
In other news:
Also during their meeting, the council approved sending two levy renewals to the Miami County Board of Elections to be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot. Those levy renewals include a 1.6-mill levy and a 2.2-mill levy, both of which are renewals, not increases, and would be used to pay a portion of the contract for EMS and fire services.
The council also voted to approve a bid from Gunkle’s Tree Service to trim trees and remove hazards in the well field. The cost is $9,600.
This tree removal project was spurred on by the high-water event that took place in village on April 4. While the village had seen more severe flooding in that area than they experienced that day, the storm and power outage on April 4 was a wake-up call for the village after a tree fell across power lines that span the Greenville Creek. The falling tree brought down a DP&L primary power line that powered the Covington well field, sewer plant, water plant, government center, the downtown business district, and several hundred village residents.
“We really took a harder look at this,” Busse said.
Gunkle’s Tree Service will remove a large tree in the middle of the well field and all hazards in the well field that may fall on power or communication lines and create interruptions to Covington’s water supply.
In regard to the 2018 sidewalk program, the council approved a four-year payback with a one-time 6 percent administrative fee for residents who had not paid for their portion of the sidewalks replaced. The unpaid amounts will be assessed to their property taxes over the next four years. The four-year sidewalk program assessments were approved by a vote of four to zero. Council member Bud Weer abstained from the vote, and council member Scott Tobias was absent during the meeting.
The council also held the first readings of two resolutions during their meeting. The first resolution would authorize a special assessment levy for the purpose of paying the cost of lighting the streets in the village. The cost is the same as last year, and Busse said that there has not been an increase for the past four or five years.
The second resolution that the council held a first reading for was a request to the state of Ohio’s director of transportation to modify the speed limits on High Street. This request would reduce the legal speed between Dodd Street and Walnut Street on High Street from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph.
This request was a result of one of the findings from the village’s traffic study that Choice One completed. In May, the council approved a contract to Choice One Engineering for the High Street signal and traffic study. The cost of the contract was approximately $13,500.
The council is expected to vote on those resolutions after holding three readings.
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