Talk of a possible increase to city trash prices has been floating around, but City Manager Allen Dinkel says this is untrue.
“We’re not increasing trash,” he said. “There’s false advertising out there. The city rates are not increasing. That’s never been proposed.”
According to Dinkel, last summer the city transferred money from the trash fund to the general fund to maintain city streets — something the city does on a yearly basis — and the city suggested putting in a franchise fee.
There are two private trash companies that do business in Junction City, he said, who would be effected by this franchise fee.
According to Dinkel, the franchise fee was proposed in part because of the wear and tear large, heavy trucks can do to streets, which the city pays to maintain.
“Their trucks tear up the city streets and alleys,” he said.
According to Dinkel, after the city introduced the franchise fee last summer, the city was sued.
Dinkel said trash is not the only service for which there is a franchise fees. Other services which involve a franchise fee include natural gas and electricity, he said.
“We’re not increasing the city rates,” he said. “(The city does), however, get funds from the private trash haulers.”
According to Dinkel, trash rates increase — or decrease — by small amounts on a yearly basis due to changes in the consumer price index, or CPI.
“if the CPI goes up one percent, out trash goes up one percent and that’s just to keep up with the times,” he said. “We’ve had that for years.”
If the CPI goes down this year due to COVID-19, Dinkel said, the community could see a decrease in city fees for trash.
“The city rates are not increasing, that’s not been the intent,” he said. “It’s not a tax, because we can’t do it that way. We just think it’s bad — it’s false on the part of the company that’s putting it out there.”
Owner of Howie’s Greg Wilson, one of the private haulers that does business in Junction City, said the franchise fee would boost costs for his company which he would, in turn, be forced to pass on to his local customers.
Wilson said he felt the city had singled out private trash companies by adopting a franchise fee.
“It seems like they are singling out the trash companies and they don’t have the same fee structure or whatever for other utilities for other trucks, people, other individuals,” he said.
Wilson said his company’s licensing fee in 2018 was $200 and was looking to increase to $4,800.
What this translates to for the consumer, he said, depends on what the company chooses to pass on to consumers.
“Yes, we would have to raise rates, we’d have to pass some of that on to the consumer,” he said. “But to be honest, (the city doesn’t) have anything yet that is legal.”
According to Wilson, the company has been paying the franchise fee under protest since it was implemented last summer, but recently entered the process of litigation against the city.
He said he did not foresee his company pulling out of Junction City over this, but that he felt the franchise fee was unfair.
“They do run trash, and they’re not charging themselves the same fee,” Wilson said. “And so they say they’re paying in a different direction. But it’s it’s not apples to apples.”