Trash collection cost rises 9.5%

By Bob Petrie The Arizona Republic Nov. 18, 2002

TEMPE - The cost of trash pickup will rise 9.5 percent for homeowners starting Jan. 1, the second year in a row Tempe has hiked trash collection.

The increase puts Tempe's single-family residential rate at $13.96 a month, up from $12.75. It ranks Tempe fifth in the Valley in trash rates; Phoenix is highest at $20.20. Last year, Tempe's residential trash fee rose 8.5 percent.

Oliver Ncube, deputy public works director, said the city has been dipping into reserves to cover increasing trash costs, but a $1 million kitty dropped to $20,000.

Kevin Brown, a central Tempe resident, isn't bothered much by the rate increase.

"The city is having problems with money. I feel the service is pretty good," Brown said.

Commercial rates will rise 5 percent from a minimum of $43.05 to $45.20 a month.

Besides higher costs, Ncube said the city would also use the extra money for an alley maintenance program, paving 165 miles over four years.

He said the city would be more active in getting residents to clear overgrown bushes and trees hanging from their yards into alleys, which slow and damage trucks picking up uncontained trash.

City code requires homeowners to trim bushes from the right of way, but Tempe hasn't been enforcing the law. If someone contacted by the city refuses to cut them, the city will charge $81 per hour to do it.

"We're not going out and policing it; we're asking people to work with us and asking them to please trim," Ncube said.

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