Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PMUA Increases Rates, Reorganizes

Costs outside control of the city’s solid waste and sewer authority will cause rate increases for the first time since 2005, said presenters at Tuesday’s Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority rate hearing.

Commissioners approved rates Tuesday (Feb. 13, 2007) that will increase some charges by 20 percent as of July 1.

Disposal fees and fringe benefits for employees are driving the increase, Bill Vukoder of T&M Associates said. Out of the $9.7 million solid waste budget for 2007, $2.8 million will go for disposal of trash. Fringe benefits have increased by 17 percent over actual figures for 2006, Vukoder said.

The annual rate hearing brought no public comment and the annual reorganization that followed brought only one quibble from a resident who felt he was being overcharged for services.

The rate changes include household increases for garbage collection from $133.02 per quarter to $159.65 starting July 1. Container fees will also increase.

Vukoder said some increases should start March 1 and the commissioners agreed. Those charges kick in when the city calls on the Authority to clean up a property that the owner fails to maintain. The hourly rate for a so-called “abatement” would increase from $216.80 per hour to $260 and the rate per ton of debris removed would increase from $155 per ton to $162.

The other increase starting March 1 would be for charges at the Rock Avenue transfer station. Residents may bring cast-offs to the transfer station for a fee, such as $2.35 per old tire. The new rate per tire would be $2.60.

The Authority is encouraging residents to recycle, because disposal fees for some recyclables are lower than those for garbage. Charges for bottles and cans will drop from $79 per ton to $34.40 and metal recycling will drop from $54 per ton to $39.30.

But garbage drop-off at the yard will increase from $86 per ton to $120.30 and bulky waste will go from $157 to $165 per ton. Vegetative waste will increase from $60 per ton to $78.50.

Sewer rates will also increase by about 20 percent July 1, to $127.25 per quarter for each dwelling unit. Fees charged by the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority account for about 30 percent of sewer costs, officials said.

Councilman Don Davis, the City Council’s liaison to the PMUA, said after the meeting the increases are “well-needed at this time” due to rising costs.

At the reorganization, commissioners chose Carol Ann Brokaw to stay on as chairwoman for 2007. William Reid will be vice-chairman, Alex Toliver will be secretary and David Beck will be treasurer for the year. Officials offered condolences to Commissioner Jo-Ann Sloan, who was absent due to the death of her father.
--Bernice Paglia


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