By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON TOWNSHIP — Trash pickup carts will become a common site along the streets of Benton Township.
Trustees unanimously voted Tuesday night to pay $144,529 for 3,000 95-gallon trash carts that can be distributed to residents who pay the township for trash removal services.
Superintendent Kelli Nelson said the move was meant to enhance their service and limit the amount of trash that gets blown into township streets.
“The township has provided refuse service for a number of years,” she said. “People are forced to use their own trash carts or set their bags on the side of the road on pickup day. We decided to push for buying these carts because the township has issues with trash carts getting broken, or trash being blown away.”
The township will use its general fund to pay for the 3,000 trash carts, which will be made available by April 1.
Trustees then passed a resolution to increase the trash collection rate by $1. The current rate for residential homes is $15 a month. The rate increase will take place June 1, two months after carts are made available to residents.
If commercial property and nonprofit organizations need a second cart, under the new rate Nelson said they would pay $32 a month.
Nelson told trustees the rate has not been increased since October 2008.
“It is deemed necessary to offset the capital investment in the refuse collection carts,” Nelson said. “We expect a return on investment within five years.”
Public Works Supervisor Andy Jordan told trustees he favored the purchase because the township would offer a better service.
The last two trash trucks the township bought have a cart tipper on the back that would work with the influx of carts.
“Personally, I don’t like to see Best Way and Reliable (trash carts) outside houses,” Jordan said. “We should be picking up for residents, and the carts will help with that. Our service is better. We have no limit on what we’ll pick up. It will just be a special pick up.”
Best Way Disposal and Reliable Disposal are two trash pickup services based in Watervliet and Stevensville, respectively. They are a common choice in Berrien County to remove trash.
Treasurer Debbie Boothby said the township’s prices are lower than most in the area. However, she said more residents weren’t as interested in the township’s service due to the lack of trash carts.
Nelson said residents would like this because most pay water and sewer bills at the township hall. By signing on with the township, they could pay the trash pickup fee at township hall along with the rest of their utilities.
Under the new resolution, Nelson said any additional bags that don’t fit in the 95-gallon trash cart will be billed extra. She said the township won’t leave any trash behind. However, there would be an incremental charge of any “excess haul.”
The next board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Benton Township Hall.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 8, 2017)