BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - Bowling Green finally has a solution for their projected $627,000 budget deficit in the general fund.
City Council voted to approve a trash-collection fee to make up the difference next year after much debate and discussion.
"We started out with a couple of options, and we kind of went, 'yuck' after hearing everyone," said Bowling Green City Council member Robert
McOmber. "Well I guess the trash collection turned out to be the one where the yuck was not as loud as the other options."
The council held a committee of the whole meeting that started with three remaining options.
Bowling Green City Council looked into taking money from the water and sewer capital improvement fund and moving it to the general fund, collecting a trash fee or creating a tree-trimming assessment in the city to raise close to $800,000.
Residents had some opposing opinions about what they thought was the best option.
"Raising the rate for water and sewer might be the easiest," said Elizabeth Wood, a BG resident. "But I am a little bit concerned about the option of charging for garbage because I am a one-person household and I don't think it should be a flat fee."
"When everyone is paying exactly the same it gets everyone's attention and the more attention it's paid the less likely that those fees are going to get higher so that's one of the reasons I'd like to see a flat fee," said Robert Pruger, a Bowling Green resident.
After a lot of discussion, council ultimately decided the best decision for the city to fix the deficit in the general fund is a trash collection fee for the residents using the service that is now free.
"It wasn't particularly painful for all of us on council," said Robert McOmber, city council member and chair of the finance committee. "We didn't have any big arguments over it and we came to a consensus that everybody agreed to so I think it's a pretty good resolution to the problem."
City officials say they still have several details to work out regarding the trash collection fee, but expect to begin collecting from residents using their service starting January 1st. That fee is projected to cost $12-13 a month or $150 a year.
"Our intention would be just to recover whatever it costs us whether that amounts three hundred thousand dollars a year, eight hundred thousand dollars a year or a million dollars a year," explained McOmber. "What it costs us, that's what we recover."
City officials say they will absorb the deficit costs for this year.
The trash collection fee will eliminate the deficit in the future and council members hope that eventually the fee will decrease as residents recycle more than they do now.