Thursday, June 13

Indian River County residents could face major garbage rate hikes

Indian River County residents may soon pay quite a bit more for monthly trash collection next year.

Commissioners are working to pick one of four options for garbage and waste collection once the county’s contract with Waste Management ends in October 2025.

The problem is all of the options are much more expensive.

Currently, residents are charged about $33 per three months for trash collection, which is about $11 per month.

The cheapest of the four options would cost users $22.46 a month, doubling trash fees. The most expensive would raise rates by 282%, bringing the monthly cost to $53.81.

“It’s too much,” resident Robert Friedman said. “I wouldn’t feel good about that.”

“All the pricing is really in line with what we’re seeing around the region,” Commission Chair Susan Adams said. “Our current pricing is over 10 years old.”

Across the country, trash rates are rising. A Reuters article showed that consumers paid, on average, 6.9% more during 2023 for trash pickup as the cost of collecting garbage rises.

“What we’re seeing is inflation, equipment cost and employment cost have gone up,” Adams said. “Our hands are a bit tied in that.”

Yet at the Salvation Army of Indian River County, Capt. Kelvin Garcia said folks already can’t keep up with the rising cost of living.

“Its been critical right now,” said Garcia. “If you go to our hallway, you’ll see how many people are already filling out the application for assistance, and many of them are for the first time.”

Garcia said he used to help an average of 15 families each month pay for rent and utilities. In May, that number jumped to 40 families per month. Now, the nonprofit is averaging over 50, and the nonprofit’s budget to help those in need dropped by $200,000 this year.

“It makes a big difference,” Garcia said. “Last year, this year have been really hard years for families.”

Adams said commissioners will consider cost as they choose each option and will weigh the price against the services they offer. She also said commissioners will hopefully be able to negotiate the price down once they pick a provider.

“Once we decide what option we want, we will pick the two best proposals with that option and we’ll go back and renegotiate, kind of pit those two against each other to try to get that price down and get the best price for residents,” Adams said. “At the end of the day, customer service is important, but price is important.”

Freidman agreed, telling WPTV that one man’s trash shouldn’t cost him his treasures.

“Now that I’m retired, it’s definitely something to look at because while I was working making a good living, things are very, very pricey now,” Friedman said.

The four options include:

A “status quo” option, which is a subscription service that is no different from what customers are already receiving A universal service in which customers provide their own trash receptacles A subscription service with carted and automatic yard trash carts A universal service with carted and automatic yard trash carts

Commissioners will hold the next meeting to discuss this on April 24 at 4 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend and share their thoughts, which will be taken into account before commissioners pick a service option that evening.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *