The cost of trash collection for some Bloomington residents will increase in May.
The Bloomington City Council voted 6-3 Monday for a $4 increase for the 65- and 95-gallon garbage carts, changing the prices to $25 and $29, respectively. It's one of many items being considered by aldermen as they look to close next year's budget deficit.
Alderman Scott Black was originally against the fee increase but changed his mind.
"It was more important to me that we had at least one cart that remained the same price, and that's the 35-gallon cart at $16 per year. I think by having that pass this council this evening, this is a big win for our community," Black said.
The collection fee will increase by 3 percent annually for the 65- and 95-gallon buckets. It is unclear when the city will stop raising the price of garbage collection.
Mayor Tari Renner said it's likely the council will review the fee increase annually during the budgeting process. He said the annual increases (without a sunset) were not a "blank check."
But Renner praised the council for setting the city's solid waste program on a path toward financial stability.
"Future councils will inherit a very different situation, a much better situation, than what we inherited. And that is, if they do nothing about trash, it will still continue to pay for itself," Renner said on GLT's Sound Ideas.
Monday's vote will also reduce the frequency of bulk pickup, from every other week to twice a year (spring and fall). Residents can pay $25 per bucket if they want a bulk pickup outside of these timeframes. No changes will be made to brush collection.
Aldermen on Feb. 12 decided against privatizing solid waste collection. Black said the city should take responsibility for its cleanliness.
Alderman Karen Schmidt voted against the hike. She said closing next year's projected $2.9 million budget deficit shouldn't be done on the residents' backs.
"Maybe we ought to be making some efforts to build some reserves from our overall structure that includes proposals we have not even had the chance to evaluate yet," Schmidt said.
Aldermen Joni Painter and David Sage also voted against the rise in fees.
The council has also passed a measure to restrict businesses from adding new video gaming machines to the city for at least one year. Alderman Joni Painter said the city needs to increase revenue from existing video gambling before thinking about adding more terminals.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.