Left to right: San Marcos Director of Public Services Tom Taggart, Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) Director of Sales Rick Fraumann, City of San Marcos Public Services Coordinator Jo Secrest, Texas State University Associated Student Government Senator Maxfield Baker, Assistant Director of Public Services-Transportation Sabas Avila, and Jim Powers of TDS at a recent city council meeting. Photo by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
The San Marcos City Council is on its way to adding a new wrinkle to its recycling program, unanimously approving, on first reading, a recycling phase for apartment dwellers at this week’s meeting.
The ordinance would institute a recycling fee for apartment dwellers and new recycling and solid waste collection rates for residents of houses.
If councilmembers approve the ordinance on second reading next month, the new garbage and recycling collection rate for houses will be $17.55, and the recycling rate for apartments will be $5.53. Both rates include all fees and taxes indicated by the city.
The ordinance would allow all apartment dwellers in the city to place their recyclables in on-site community bins for pickup once per week. Single-family residents would continue to receive bi-weekly recycling and weekly garbage pickup services from Texas Disposal Services (TDS), which would also collect recyclables from apartments. The ordinance would not require apartment complexes to use TDS’ trash collection services.
Assistant Director of Public Services (Transportation Division) Sabas Avila said the institution of mandatory recycling fees for apartment tenants would result in a reduced garbage and recycling rate for residents of single-family units because TDS would have more customers.
“It’s like buying in bulk, if you will,” Avila said. “The more you buy at one time, the lower the rate. And so that’s essentially what we’re seeing. If you add more customers to TDS’ customer base, the overall cost for service in the city goes down.”
If councilmembers approve the garbage/recycling rate change ordinance on second reading, they will vote on a new contract with TDS. Green Guy Recycling would continue to process recyclables picked up by TDS.
The council held a public hearing on the matter before Tuesday’s vote. Only one citizen addressed the council at the hearing — Texas State Associated Student Government (ASG) Senator Maxfield Baker, who expressed support for the city ordinance. Baker informed councilmembers of a recent piece of ASG legislation in support of the ordinance. Baker authored the legislation, which was sponsored by nine senators, and which passed by a vote of 44-2-1. Two senators voted against the legislation and one abstained from the vote.
Councilmembers are expected to take a final vote on the ordinance on Dec. 7, when they will also vote on a final contract with TDS.
Due to consumer price index increases, the city is contractually obligated to a solid-waste and recycling rate increase of $0.68 per single-family unit. However, city staff negotiated rate decreases of $0.68 per single-family unit with TDS to offset the increase. Landfill and city facilities fees would be eliminated under the proposed rate changes.
Single-family residents currently pay the following rates $18.06 per month for garbage removal and recycling. City staff proposed that councilmembers choose from among three recycling and garbage collection fee scenarios.
Option 1 involves the special events fees and solid waste rate reductions being applied to single-family residences. Under the scenario, residents of single-family units would pay $17.80 per month for trash pick-up and recycling, while apartment residents would pay $5.32.
Under Option 2, the special events fee would be charged to both single-family and multi-family residents, and solid waste reductions would be applied to single-family residences. Single-family homes would pay $17.16 per month, while apartment dwellers would pay $5.73.
Option 3 normalizes recycling costs, increases, and reductions equally between single-family and multi-family residences. Under the scenario, single-family residents would pay $17.55 per month and apartment residents would pay $5.53.
“In Option 2, the economies of scale savings, in essence, are applied towards single-family rate, which reduces that rate,” Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer told councilmembers on Tuesday. “In Option 3, everything is — the economies of scale are spread evenly between both multi-family and single-family.”Email | Print