Board nixes special assessment trash, recycling hike

By David Fleet
Atlas Twp.- On Monday night the township board of trustees voted 3-2 to not increase the special assessment over the current amount of $125 per year to $194 per year, per improved parcel for trash and recycling collection.
Trustees Pat Major and Barry June along with Treasurer Ann Marie Moore voted no. Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones and Clerk Katie Vick voted yes.
In May 2021, the township board of trustees voted 5-0 to extend the waste collection and disposal contract with Emterra which expired on Dec. 31, 2020, for 10 years. At that time, of the 31 communities in Genesee County with collection contracts, the township was ranked 29th with only Richfield and Davison townships less costly. Conversely, the Village of Goodrich, City of Davison and Village of Otisville were the most costly in the county. The contract will remain will Emterra for now.
Emterra Environmental USA’s services include weekly trash pick up, recycling and six compost days. The cost started at $9.92 monthly the first year then increase by about 20 cents per year for the next 10 years. By year 2030 the cost per household would be $11.58 per month.
The hike was under consideration for a possible change in collection service. At issue over the past year were concerns by township residents and officials regarding the service of Emterra. Earlier this year the company announced recycling bins would not be emptied due to a labor shortage for several weeks due to issues with COVID. The company attempted to remedy the issue by leaving a dumpster in the parking of the township offices on Gale Road.
“The assessments increase was necessary to possibly look at other contracts,” said Kautman-Jones. “We were contacted by many residents to look for an alternative provider. We will continue to make a log of all customer concerns we receive, both good and bad.”
Representative from Phoenix-based Republic, Burton-based Community Disposal, Canada-based Emterra, Canada-based GFL attended the meeting on Monday.
In comparison Village of Goodrich residents are paying $189.60 for trash and recycling collection, currently in their fifth year with Republic Services.
In May 2021, the township board of trustees voted 5-0 approving a $17 annual increase in a special assessment for trash and recylcing collection currently at $108 per year to $125.
The total cost to the township is $286,000 per year and will be collected via a special assessment on all improved lots. The new rate will be on the Winter 2022 tax bill and charged to the benefited properties within the township.
Other communities including Groveland and Brandon townships do not have a contract with a single carrier; rather, each resident decides which waste hauler they contract.
Both communities have grappled with the idea.

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