TRASH RATE INCREASE

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COLUMBIA - Former University of Missouri Professor Chuck Headley feels like the debate between trash bags and rolling carts should've died with a 54-46 vote against them more than a year ago.

In 2016, Headley and the Solid Waste Advocacy Group organized a group to walk the neighborhood and see what people thought of roll carts versus the current bag system. They came away with more than 4,000 signatures against the roll cart system and took it to City Council to get a measure on the ballot.

Now, nearly 18 months later, it seems like the debate will come rolling back in with the 2018 budget proposal that would increase trash and recycling bag services by four percent. 

"Everything settled down and we went about our business thinking it was taken care of and people were happy," Headley said. "But of course what the charter says is that anything like this is only binding for about six months, and then the council can change their mind if they want to. So they're thinking about changing their mind."

Currently trash and recycling services cost Columbians between $14.42 and $15.42 per month. If the increase is approved, it would add 62 cents to the monthly cost of trash and recycling services, or $7.44 per year. The additional tax would generate an estimated $353,904 according to City Manager Mike Matthes proposed budget.

"I would hope that the citizens who are happy with the bags would not have any problem with 50 or 60 cents increase. I wouldn't." Headley said. 

Citizens currently receive 50 black trash bags and 54 blue recycling bags through the bag voucher program. However, if the increase fails, the city will cut back to 25 trash bags and 36 recycling bags. This cut would save the city $375,000 according to the city budget.

A final vote on the 2018 fiscal budget is scheduled for September 18th. 

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