"The department was about $20,000 over budget last year because of the gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon for a while and increases in the tipping fees," Brazil Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen said. "Even though gas prices have gone back down this year, it is going to be close because the tipping fees have gone up again."
Sanitation Supervisor Casey Archer told The Brazil Times the department takes at least one full load (12 tons) to Sycamore Ridge Landfill each day trash is picked up.
"Depending on the size of the load, it costs between $450 and $480 per drop off," Archer said. "Plus there are times where we have to make two trips a day."
The current monthly rate for residents' trash pickup is $10.50, which was set in February 2007.
McQueen said the city is doing what it can to avoid making any rate increases in the near future.
"In the past few months, we have gone to having heavy trash pickup only once a month rather than once a week," she said. "Also, we have brought the number of employees to a minimum, with a total of four guys on the back of the sanitation trucks on a rotating basis."
The city also conducted a rate study for the sanitation department to determine ways to generate revenue or help residents reduce the amount of trash produced.
"We would like to see residents put more focus into recycling," McQueen said. "Not only would it cut down on the amount of trash, but it also provides an avenue to reuse our resources."
While the city drops off at least 12 tons of trash per day, Larry Wallace, owner of Wallace Bros. Inc., Knightsville, told The Brazil Times his company only receives about one ton of recycling materials each month.
"There are specially marked bags for residents to put all of their recycling materials in and the city will pick it up and bring it to us," Wallace said. "We also separate the materials so residents can put it all in one place."
Wallace said his company accepts paper, aluminum cans, steel cans, No. 2 plastics (milk jugs), No. 1 plastics (pop bottles) and cardboard, because those are the largest portions of recycling materials they tend to receive.
McQueen added she is trying to come up with a program in which residents may also recycle glass.
"The sanitation department is self-supporting, but we don't want to add any more fees onto the residents at this time," she said. "I want to find a way to recycle glass for the city because if we can increase the amount of recycling, it will really help out everyone."
Just the facts
The following are the remaining days of heavy trash pickup for the City of Brazil in 2009:
* May 15,
* June 19,
* July 17,
* August 14,
* September 18,
* October 23,
* November 20, and
* December 18.
Note: Each of these dates are Fridays.