Columbia Leaders Propose Using Trash Bins

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COLUMBIA - At the Columbia City Council retreat this week, city leaders once again started kicking around the idea of roll carts for trash service.

City Manager Mike Matthes told city leaders the solid waste utility service may be strapped for cash by 2016, and said a "pay-as-you-throw" trash service may generate more money for the department.

Residential ratepayers in Columbia currently throw trash bags out onto the curb, and pay about $15 a month, regardless of how much trash they generate.

Solid Waste Utility Manager Cynthia Mitchell said if the city started using a pay-as-you-throw system, the department would have more money for capital improvement projects like updating its truck fleet.

In the city's long range capital improvement plan, it has proposed to move the solid waste utility office and its trucks out to the landfill in northeast Columbia. Plans are underway, but without more money, the city cannot proceed with construction.

"There are a lot of capital improvements that we have always on the planning here in solid waste, and it's just to the point where keeping up with all of those to do the services that we do are not covering the costs," Mitchell said.

With the roll carts, people who purchase larger carts or multiple carts would pay a fee based on how much capacity they throw out onto the curb.

In 2012, the city proposed a pilot program for the roll carts, but it received public backlash. Elderly residents worried it would be tough to roll heavy bins down to the end of the driveway.

In a December 2012 letter to the editor of the Columbia Missourian, Clarence L. Woodard wrote:

"170 volunteers were interested in the pilot program. I imagine 80 percent of those weren't senior citizens; if there were senior citizen volunteers, they have a short, level driveway."