Brownstown trash, recycling fee to increase slightly


Brownstown residents will soon see a slight bump in their sewer bills.

Rumpke of Indiana was the only company to submit bids for the town’s curbside trash and recycling services.

For each of the next two years, the monthly rate for trash pickup will be $9.32, and recycling pickup will be $3.75 for a total of $13.07. The current monthly cost is $12.55.

The current contract with Rumpke expires June 30, so the new rates will go into effect July 1.

During a town council meeting earlier this month, Clerk-Treasurer David Willey asked Rumpke representative Christopher Pierce why the recycling fee increased.

“You’ve probably heard some news as far as recycling in China and how moving materials has changed because their guidelines have gotten stricter,” Pierce said. “So it has kind of caused a flood in the market domestically for recyclables because you’re not allowed over a 3 percent contamination rate, which is really tough to risk sending all the way overseas and have a whole boatload of recycling come back.”

Pierce said Washington looked at stopping its recycling program altogether because it has become costly, and Rumpke’s director of recycling spoke with officials from that state.

“Right now, it costs us more just than disposal as far as our costs to operate on the recycling end and what it costs per ton to recycle it and divert it from the landfill,” Pierce said. “That has definitely become a tremendous increase as far as our costs to process the materials, and then the paybacks are a lot less because the market is flooded right now.”

The council unanimously agreed to accept Rumpke’s bids.

“We appreciate the continued partnership,” Pierce said.

In 2016, the monthly charge for trash and recycling increased from $11.35 to $12.55 when the town upgraded to 95-gallon recycling carts for residents.

Between September and December of that year, Willey reported a 33 percent increase in the number of residents recycling. At the time, he said more people were recycling because the larger cart, which has a lid, is easier to move and more appealing to residents.

The town has more than 950 potential households that can recycle. If a resident needs a recycling cart, the town can provide one.

Rumpke bills Brownstown for trash and recycling collection, and the residents’ monthly fee is based on the number of units.

The Jackson County Solid Waste Management District, which does business as Jackson County Recycling District, provides the town with a yearly subsidy toward the cost of recycling as long as the trash goes to a Jackson County landfill. That money goes into the town’s general fund.

Rumpke takes the recycling to Cincinnati, Ohio.

For every ton of trash that goes into the landfill, Rumpke pays the solid waste management district a dollar.

The annual amount the town receives started out at $4,800 a few years ago but has since increased to $7,200. That helps support local recycling programs, and no tax dollars have to be collected.