REDINGTON BEACH — Residents here should expect to pay more for their garbage collection, a representative of the collection service told town commissioners Sept. 14.
Ian Boyle, the government affairs manager of Waste Connections, blamed the potential increase on higher dumping fees to be implemented by Pinellas County.
Waste Connections is entering the last year of its contract with the city and is looking at a price increase that is “larger than normal,” Boyle said.
The county has announced it will raise disposal fees at the landfill on Oct. 1 from $37.50 a ton to $39.75, a hike of 6%. The fee will increase 6% annually through 2021. County officials say it is the first increase in 30 years.
About 40% of the rate charged to Redington Beach represents disposal fees, Boyle said.
The current residential disposal rate is $16.19 a month, and Waste Connections expects to increase that to $16.81. The condo rate would rise from $8.64 to $8.97. Both of those rates include a 1.4% cost-of-living increase.
Mayor Nick Simons noted the county has also announced it will raise water rates.
Boyle added that the cost of disposing of recycled materials is also going up. “Recycling right now is not the industry to be in,” he said, with it now cheaper to burn recycled materials than to process them into other materials. A year ago, the cost for his company to drop off materials at a recycling firm was “zero dollars.” Now, he said, it’s $80 a ton and up. China, which has been the primary destination for recycled waste, now refuses to accept such materials unless they are 99.5% clean.
Impermeable surface ratio discussed
During the public forum section of the meeting, resident Steve Redman asked the commissioners to accelerate action on changing the impermeable surface ratio. He noted the Planning Board is set to meet Oct. 1 and 22, at which time the topic of the impervious surface ratio is expected to be discussed. However, he said, “it doesn’t seem like that’s something the Planning Board should have to deal with.”
The commission has for months studied whether to change the ISR, a figure that is cemented into the town’s comprehensive plan. Changing that portion of the plan would take months, Redman noted, and he urged the panel to remove any mention of a numerical ratio from the comp plan and allow the ratio to be set through ordinance, making it easier to change the figure.
Most commissioners agreed with Redman’s suggestion, but Commissioner Fred Steiermann objected. “I like it where it is because this is a big deal,” he said. While he agreed the ratio change was taking too long, allowing it to be changed by ordinance was “a bad idea.”
“We remember a time,” he added, “that you wouldn’t have liked the response you got from that commission.”
Simons said Redman’s proposal would be discussed further at a future commission meeting.
Board member removed
Commissioners also unanimously agreed to removed resident Wendy Fields from her post on the Board of Adjustment. Commissioner Dave Will called for her to resign Sept. 4 because she was party to a civil suit against the town over its “customary use” ordinance dealing with public access to its beaches.
At the Sept. 4 meeting, Fields agreed to resign and Simons asked her to submit her resignation in writing. Simons said at the Sept. 14 meeting that Fields had not sent the letter.
Tax rate decided
In other action, commissioners hired the firm of Clifton Larson Allen to audit the town’s finances for the 2019 fiscal year. The agreement calls for CLA to receive a fee not to exceed $23,500.
At a public hearing the evening before, commissioners voted on the final tax rate for the upcoming year. They settled the millage rate at 1.8149 mills, which is higher than the rolled-back rate of 1.726 mills. With total Redington Beach property values appraised at $512.8 million, the new rate is expected to bring in an additional 5.15% in ad valorem taxes. The total budget was set at $1.921 million.