During Thursday night’s City Council meeting, Councilman Bob Rush is set to discuss a proposal to increase the rate Canton seniors pay for garbage pickup from the $7.50 a month to $10.50 a month.
Rush said Tuesday that although a potentially unpopular proposal, the rate hike is necessary to keep the city bringing enough money in to cover its costs.
“Get it up to what it’s costing the city,” Rush said. “The city’s always losing money on the deal.”
Canton Chief Financial Officer Nathan Ingram said Tuesday that the cost to the city for seniors’ trash pickup is $10.15 per customer per month. But with non-senior residents paying $16.50 monthly for their trash pickup — which actually costs the city $10.29 per month, per customer — Ingram said overall, the city ends up making money on trash pickup.
But Rush said it’s not fair to have the city’s non-senior residents picking up the seniors’ slack.
“I just don’t think the rest of the community should subsidize it,” he said.
In a perfect world, Rush said all residents, regardless of age, would pay the same rate for their trash pickup.
“It’s the same trash can,” he said. “It’s the same garbage truck; it’s the same thing.”
But Rush, who is not seeking re-election, said he anticipates a change to all trash pickup rates would be difficult to get through the City Council and he is trying to take the changes one step at a time, starting with increasing the rate for seniors.
Mayor Gene Hobgood, however, said Tuesday that he would “very strongly” oppose the increase.
“I think seniors deserve a break, particularly because they’re on fixed income,” Hobgood said. “If we can afford to give the mayor and council a salary increase, surely we can give the seniors (a break).”
Hobgood added that Canton could likely stand to reduce the rates for all residents, because “We’re making money on our garbage pickup.”