2018-12-05 / Front Page

Monthly Unlimited Trash Pickup To End In Archbold

Unlimited trash pickup– a service village residents have enjoyed for several years– will come to an end after December.

It’s part of an effort to shore up the village general fund, which is in trouble, said Donna Dettling, Archbold village administrator.

Speaking to village council at its Monday, Dec. 3 meeting, Dettling said that the utilities committee discussed a new five-year contract with ARS, Inc., the refuse collection company.

The village pays its trash bill on a per-month basis based on $13.28 per month multiplied by the number of places the truck stops to pick up trash.

Dettling said if unlimited pickup is continued, the cost would be $15.95 per stop per month.

With a significant increase in water and wastewater service coming in June 2019 (8% for water, 13% for wastewater), Dettling said the council utilities committee decided to recommend dropping unlimited pickup as opposed to increasing the trash collection rate.

Two Items

Residents will still be allowed to set out two bulk items on the third pickup day of each month.

Any bulk or excess trash beyond that will be left at the curb, and the resident will receive a call to remove the trash.

ARS does offer a pickup service.

A person with bulk trash can contact ARS with a list of items.

ARS has an “a la carte” menu, or list of costs for each item to be picked up. For example, it costs $15 to have box springs from a bed hauled away.

The resident will receive an invoice for the service.

Vaughn Bentz, councilman, said there are organizations that will pick up used furniture.

People who collect scrap metal– “scrappers”– will haul away and recycle some items.

He said the village should find a way to publicize those services.

Dettling said the village currently charges residents $9.50 per month on water bills for trash pickup. The amount pays only about 66% of the cost of refuse collection.

The village subsidizes the remaining 34%, about $100,000 a year.

That, she said, is unsustainable.

The utilities committee recommended steps to reduce the subsidy to 20%.

She added since 1997, the village spent $2 million subsidizing refuse collection in the village.

Council approved the new contract with ARS by unanimous vote.

General Fund

The village operates using money from different funds.

Accounting rules the village follows say in some cases, money from one particular fund can’t be transferred to another.

In other cases, money can be transferred, but only with approval of council.

The fund that pays for the day-to-day operation of the village is the general fund.

Dettling told council all village funds are doing well, with the exception of the general fund.

During 2018, Dettling said the general fund had $400,000 more going out than it did coming in.

Expenses exceeded revenues for some years, but village officials had been able to make up the difference out of reserves.

In 2000, the village had over $2 million in reserve in the general fund. Now, she said, there is only $488,000.

The end of unlimited trash pickup is one way to cut general fund expenses.

As the council finance committee considered options, it looked at increasing the village income tax– currently 1.5% of payroll and corporate profits– to 1.75%, with the additional .25% going to help fund the police department.

In 2018, the police budget was a little over $1 million. In 2000, the budget was $617,000.

Dettling said had it not been for the new funding agreement for the German Township-Archbold Fire Department, in which the trustees provide funding for operations, “We would be in big trouble.”

Part of the police budget is support for the Multi- Area Narcotics Task Force, or MAN Unit. The village provides one full-time officer and $25,000 per year to the unit.

Currently, six counties, 10 cities, and one village– Archbold– fund the MAN Unit.

But other communities in each county where the MAN Unit operates, including Fulton, benefit from its work. Why should other communities not contribute to the cost of operations?

Jeff Fryman, mayor, said county sheriffs have been asking for an accounting of MAN Unit operations from Defiance County, which operates the unit.

“There have been some very pointed questions. The sheriffs feel there needs to be an audit. They want it (the unit) to be more transparent,” Fryman said.

Redirect

Currently, out of the 1.5% income tax, 1.25% is earmarked only for capital projects, such as streets and other infrastructure.

Archbold Park Board receives .25% for capital projects and operations.

Several area communities, including Stryker, Napoleon, and Fayette, charge a 1.5% income tax.

Defiance is 1.8%. Bowling Green is 2%; Toledo, 2.5%.

The last time voters increased the income tax was in May 1999, when the rate was increased from 1.25% to 1.5%.

Shifting money– say, $200,000– from capital projects would help shore up the general fund.

Bentz said Archbold is unique in having most of the income tax revenue going to capital projects. All other area towns use income tax revenue to fund day-to-day operations.

Since the village finished constructing curb-and-gutter streets, Bentz asked what impact that would have on the capital budget.

Voters approved a replacement of the village 3.3-mill property tax levy. Property tax millage is reduced to keep tax revenues from growing with appreciating property values.

Replacing a millage resets the millage to current property values.

That “definitely made a difference,” Dettling said.

But since 2010, the village has lost almost $700,000 in revenue when the state eliminated the estate tax and phased out revenue from the personal property tax.

Dettling said she has changed the way the village went through the budgeting process. For the first time, councilmen could see not only proposed budget spending, but also what revenues were being received.

“For the first time, we were able to pull it (the budget) apart, and (the general fund situation) becomes painfully obvious,” she said.

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