Solid waste raises rates in Versailles


By Meladi Brewer

VERSAILLES — Versailles Village Council members met Wednesday to discuss solid waste, street lights, and gas aggregation.

“Our current agreement expires at the end of March of this year, and of course this never gets cheaper,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.

The Village received notification of an increase to the village’s tipping fees for solid waste for April 2023 through March 2026. In his report, Busse outlined the increases expected over the next three years.

From April 1, 2023, the base rate of trash is a $6.32 per ton increase from the current rate. This also comes out to a $9,095 a year increase in operations costs. April 1, 2024 there will be an $8,32 per ton increase for an increase of $11,973 per year, and April 1, 2025 there will be a $10.32 per ton increase or a $14,852 increase for the year.

“Because of the increased tipping fees and the continued high cost of diesel fuel, the village will need to review its trash service rates and make recommendations to council for adjustments,” Busse said.

The council discussed ways the village as a whole could help contribute to lowering the costs, as the costs continue to increase and none of the fees are optional. Due to the fees for recycling remaining the same during the period, it is the council’s recommendation for the community to recycle.

“Anything we can do to encourage recycling in the community is going to help reduce the costs,” council member Kent Paulus said. “I asked Busse this question, but what percentage of our solid waste is made up of things that could be recycled?”

With the trash tonnage in 2022 being 1,439.11 tons, Busse advised the council a lot of the solid waste is material that could very well be recycled. Paulus raised the point that despite examples being on the orange and black recycle bins, an issue the community faces with recycling is education.

He advised not everyone knows what can and cannot be recycled, so it would be a good idea for the village to look into educational opportunities and encouraging ways to positively advise the community to recycle more as a whole. By working together, the community can help keep the solid waste and trash rates at a minimum despite inflation increasing their fees for trash removal.

“The reality is there is actually a lot that people throw away in their trash can that is actually recyclable. It’s just getting people to think things through and make that conscious decision to rinse things out, separate it, and do the proper things with them,” Busse said.

He said there is definitely an opportunity for people to save money overall because if their solid waste program saves money, the consumers save money too. The council agreed to do more research for future discussions in order to cover costs and encourage recycling.

For those who frequent the downtown Versailles area, you may be wondering “what is up with the street lights?” A street light painting project took place a while back, and a few of the polls appear to have not been finished. Council member Corey Griesdorn inquired about the lights while Busse advised the electric department continues to install LED light conversions. Busse said the department had completed the downtown from the Buckeye Building to Steffen Street.

“What it is, we had some stock -those LED conversions have an exterior cover plate, and it is part of the whole mechanism fixture,” Assistant Village Administrator Kyle Fransis said.

He advised that when the LED conversions were switched over, the exterior covers had not yet been painted. He said it takes 40 minutes per fixture to paint, and the village did a bunch of fixtures while it was raining on the old stock. The new plates have yet to be painted due to time and weather, so the green cover plates will be touched up in the spring in order to match the rest of the newly painted street lights.

Busse touched on the gas aggregation asking for the council’s permission to proceed with a new contract when it is presented as long as it is equivalent or lower than the current fixed rate of $0.757 per CCF.

“The way these things work is they will call you on a Tuesday and say you got until five o’clock this afternoon to sign this,” Busse said.

Versailles’s current rate under the Versailles Natural Gas Aggregation Program is a fixed rate through the Sept. 2023 billing period. The village does not know what the new rate will be at this time, but they would like to keep it reasonable with their current rate.

Busse advised prices very well could move somewhat lower, but he doesn’t foresee pricing falling materially lower in the interim given how far they’ve fallen already. The downward market momentum has held persistent as they have seen next to nothing in the way of typical winter weather dating back to around the Christmas holiday.

“However, we appear to be nearing a pricing bottom and have seen a $0.40-$0.50 increase in near-term pricing just over the past week,” Busse said.

He advised a high $5 of low $6 offer looks very attractive being that supply prices were at $10 plus this past year.

“Just for the cost of the commodity itself on the NYMEX futures market. This is not including supplier basis transportation costs or regulated CenterPoint Energy utility distribution costs,” Busse said.

The council approved a motion to allow the village administrator to enter into a contract when one is presented.

The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Tuesday, March 22, 2023 at 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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