May 11, 2006

Trash Service Seeking Price Hike In July

Onyx Waste Services Midwest is simply the latest service provider to point a finger at rising fuel costs as it comes to the public with a rate hike proposal.

Acting on behalf of the Macon office of the national corporation, Bill Kiddoo presented the rate hike proposal at the May 2nd meeting of the Memphis City Council. The board of aldermen was considering renewing the three-year trash collection contract that is set to expire June 30th.

The proposal called for a price increase for residential customers, raising the cost of once weekly collection from the current rate of $8.50 per month to the proposed rate of $9.45 a month for pick up of up to four 35-gallon trash bags a week.

However the new contract proposal actually offered a price decrease for senior citizens, dropping the rate from $8.00 a month to $7.95.

The contract calls for a four-percent price increase in commercial rates and also establishes an additional three-percent price increase in both the second and third year of the deal. Residential rates would increase three percent in both the second and third year of the proposed pact.

In addition, Onyxs contract proposal called for a gas surcharge provision, to protect the company if its average monthly fuel prices exceed $2.65 a gallon. When fuel costs exceed this established baseline, Onyx would add a fuel surcharge to each residential bill to offset the added cost for providing the service. Commercial accounts are already paying a fuel surcharge. Last quarter it was 6.2 percent.

Council members expressed discomfort with accepting any price increase considering the current economic conditions. The aldermen agreed to hold a special meeting with Onyx representatives to discuss the proposed rate. At that time, if not satisfied with a proposal from Onyx, the council indicated it could seek additional bids for the service to allow the city to consider all options to provide the most efficient service for the community.

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