« Home

John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Trash Rates 2013: Unchanged in Maplewood

It's that time of year when we start getting notices of rate increases for the new year -- but if you live in Maplewood, one bill that won't be increasing is your trash.

It's funny to me that so many people who asked me to vote against organized trash collection insisted that, while the rates might start low, they would soon increase and wind up costing more than the previous system. Of course, none of these people had actually read the contract. Never mind that; many of them said that, whatever I thought the contract said (and regardless of my close involvement with the development of all its details), there must be something in there that would allow the hauler to screw over the customers once we were lured in by low introductory rates. Or, I was told, the hauler would just go ahead and raise rates regardless of the contract's terms, and the city would be helpless to stop them.

The contract does allow for annual price adjustments, but with very specific parameters.  Hauler proposals had to specify what portion of their price was tied to fuel; what portion was tied to disposal costs; and what portion was tied to the rest of the cost of service.  Each year, each of those elements will be adjusted according to objective measures: a diesel fuel index (for fuel costs), tipping fees at the Ramsey-Washington facility in Newport (disposal costs), and the consumer price index (all the rest).  I don't know if anyone believed me when I told them, but I explained that with this formula it was quite possible for trash rates not to increase, but actually to stay the same or fall in future years of the contract.

There has been inflation over the past year -- but diesel is actually cheaper, and apparently the tipping fees at Newport will actually be reduced in 2013.  Talking with some folks at city hall recently, I'm told that the net result is a wash -- trash rates for all of 2013 will be set at the same super-low rates that kicked off our new organized trash hauling system last month.  In other words:
  • $10.63 for 32 gallons, weekly pickup, including all taxes and fees
  • $11.93 for 65 gallons, weekly pickup, including all taxes and fees
  • $13.39 for 95 gallons, weekly pickup, including all taxes and fees
I'd be curious to know how many customers in open hauling cities are seeing their rates held flat throughout next year -- and for that matter, how many trash haulers are reducing or eliminating their fuel surcharges in light of lower diesel costs.

When we estimated $1.6 million in annual savings for Maplewood households, we were using the average rates I'd found across the city in 2011.  Considering the 2012 and 2013 rate increases that the organized collection contract has avoided, the savings are now even larger.


Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts

Posts by Date

Powered by Blogger & Blogger Templates. Customized by Michelle Nephew.
Contact me at