LORAIN — A 32 percent hike in trash collection fees over the past year is too much to ask residents to shoulder, says interim Lorain Mayor John Romoser, who is dabbling with dumping longtime contractor Allied Waste.
“I think we need to have some limitations on how often the rates are raised,” he said Wednesday, objecting to a recent $1.80 bump in monthly garbage collection rates.
On top of that is an additional 21 cent state fee, he said. Last October, Allied Waste bills grew by another $1.95 per month.
Lorain residents still have the lowest rates in the county, which Romoser said is proper, considering the city is Allied’s largest local customer.
David Kidder, the area’s marketing manager for Allied Waste, said collection costs have remained steady since 2000. However, prices rose last year because fuel hit $3 a gallon, he said.
Allied has been serving Lorain since 1985, and Kidder said he doesn’t want to lose the city as a customer.
Besides, he said, Lorain officials missed the September deadline to back out of the current contract. That leaves the city obligated to do business with Allied through 2009.
“The mayor has only been there for a couple of weeks and probably hasn’t had time to study that contract,” Kidder said.
Both parties said Wednesday that talks over prices and service are continuing, and neither would say an agreement is near.
Romoser said he has been exploring other options but didn’t want to discuss them as of yet. He said he does not need the OK of the City Council to terminate the garbage pickup contract.
Such a move would have implications beyond Lorain’s borders. It could essentially kill what has become known as the “pay as you throw” program.
The nearly countywide plan — which would force residents to recycle more and throw away less, or pay extra — has been the subject of debate in the Lorain Council for months, and the deadline to vote on the plan is Nov. 5. Romoser’s predecessor, Craig Foltin, who resigned before his term was completed, opposed the plan, which must be approved by Lorain for the county’s Solid Waste Management District to implement the program across the county.
Kidder has said Lorain generates more trash than any other city in the county. Residents there throw away an average of 70 pounds per household per week compared with 58 pounds per household per week in other areas served by Allied, he said.
The “pay as you throw” plan would allow Allied to go to automated collection using trucks outfitted with robotic lifts to pick up and empty the standard bins distributed to residents.
Kidder said that should Lorain approve the plan, the automated system could roll out within six months.
Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.