Crothersville Town Council approves trash, recycling rate increase

CROTHERSVILLE — Crothersville officials had three options.

Keep taking approximately $48,000 out of the town’s sewer fund to pay for residents’ curbside recycling, raise the rate for trash and recycling pickup or just offer trash pickup.

At the end of a discussion during a recent meeting, the Crothersville Town Council approved the second option and a three-year contract with Rumpke Waste & Recycling on a 3-0 vote. President Jason Hillenburg and Councilwoman Jerilyn Masters were absent.

That means starting with the billing in January, residents will pay $22.50 per month, which will cover curbside trash and recycling pickup and two large trash pickups.

Currently, customers pay $12 per month for weekly trash pickup and biannual large trash pickup, and the town covers recycling.

“Since 2017, the town has been footing the bill for the recycling, all but $7,000 a year, so sewer has been paying close to $50,000 a year for recycling,” Clerk-Treasurer Danieta Foster told the council. “We have a choice. We can raise our trash amount on our billing to cover the recycling or get rid of it or raise sewer. Either way, there’s got to be a raise.”

Council Vice President Terry Richey asked about going to trash pickup only and having recycling dumpsters placed in town for residents who choose to recycle to have a place to drop them off. Foster said those would be paid for through funds the town receives from the Jackson County Recycling District.

“I believe solid waste said they would pay $10,000 of this, but that still leaves us paying $39,000 out of sewer, and right now, I know everybody thinks sewer bills are high,” Foster said.

She said nearly a quarter of the town’s residents participate in curbside recycling.

“We’re paying a lot, but your bills went up, everybody’s bills went up, my bills went up, my groceries went up, my cleaning supplies went up, all of that went up. So did sewer and water. Everything that we purchase for everybody to have clean water and to get their sewer to the sewer plant has gone up exponentially,” Foster said. “Two years ago, we were playing half what we are now, so it’s not like we have a big surplus in sewer to be paying for recycling.”

Councilman Jamy Greathouse said outside town limits, the cost would be around $30 to $35 a month for trash pickup, and Mike Mosier, operations manager over hauling for Rumpke, said it’s an additional $5 or $5.50 a month for recycling in Jackson County.

“As much as … nobody wants their bills to raise, it’s still a deal,” Greathouse said of the town’s increased rate. “We can’t continue to bleed $40,000 to $60,000 a year out of one fund. We can’t do it. (Increasing rates) is something we’ve got to do. People are not going to like it, but we’ve got to do it, and the cost of everything has gone up.”

The town only received one quote for trash and recycling.

Rumpke’s contract for both in 2024 is $19.85, 2025 is $20.65 and 2026 is $21.48. That’s the amount the town will pay Rumpke per customer.

A town resident watching the council meeting on Facebook Live asked what Rumpke does with the recycling and if it profits off of that.

Mosier said the recycling goes to the Medora Recycling Center, where it’s separated and baled.

“Then some of it goes directly to a warehouse. Some of it is stored because of pricing,” he said. “Recycling pricing, it’s like a roller coaster. Sometimes, you’re going to make money on it. Sometimes, you’re going to lose money on it. Where it balances out, I don’t know. It’s kind of above my head, but it is recycled, though.”

He said Rumpke welcomes anyone to visit the landfill and recycling center in Medora for a tour.

“We’ve actually had people follow us to the landfill,” he said. “You’ll see where it’s disposed of at and how it’s processed because it’s an open building and you can sit there and watch the processing part of it.”