BRIDGEPORT - Even though Bridgeport Mayor John Callarik says the sanitation department doesn't need the money, Village Council wants to raise the base fee for garbage collection by $3 a month.
The proposed ordinance, which had its first reading Nov. 20, also calls for reducing the allowable number of cans per residence to three instead of five. Those who put out more than three cans will be charged $1.50 for each extra can, he said.
Despite the fact that he sees no need for the rate increase, Callarik said he is not totally against it. He said he is OK with a $3 increase, but not the extra can charges.
If the ordinance is passed during second and third readings on Dec. 18 and Jan. 15, residents' base rate would increase from $12 to $15 a month; small businesses and churches would see their rates rise from $17 to $20 a month; and commercial non-Dumpster businesses from $35 to $38 a month.
Based on the village's 900 customers, Callarik said the rate increase would generate an additional $32,400 a year. He said there has been some talk lately about purchasing a new garbage packer truck, but the village already has plenty of money to do that. And Village Council, he said, recently decided against opting into a state program to purchase a truck that would have saved Bridgeport $20,000.
He said the sanitation department budget is running in the black and that the department doesn't need any more money to operate efficiently.
''My feeling is that I think the raise is too fast. There's a lot of low-income people that don't have the money. It should be raised slowly. They should have started three years ago. They're putting it on the people too fast,'' Callarik said of council. ''I think it's too great a hike. ... It's too much on the people.''
Callarik noted he can only vote during council action to break a tie.
''You can't blame people for getting upset. Some people can afford it, some can't. We can't overdue it,'' he said.
He added that the proposed extra can fee most concerns him because he believes it will result in people allowing garbage to be stored too long until the next pickup.
''I think you'll start to see garbage lie around,'' he said.
Callarik noted Councilman Dave Smith introduced the ordinance for its first reading. He said Smith was on a committee that talked about the rate increase. Smith could not be reached for comment at press time. Other council members include Ben Lenz, Jim Porter, Carol Lyle, Dick Riley and Marvin Husarick.
Village Council's next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 18 in council chambers at the municipal building, 301 Main St., Bridgeport.