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Kingwood Council reevaluates spending on garbage collection

KINGWOOD — When Kingwood Council sits down to work on the 2020-21 budget, it will be taking a close look at the cost of providing garbage pickup.

Recently Mayor Jean Guillot suggested council compare Kingwood’s budget to those of similar-sized towns. Councilwoman Michelle Whetsell, who volunteered to look at the budgets, said Tuesday she has looked at the budgets of eight other towns so far.

“Not one of them had garbage” departments, Whetsell said. Instead they contract out that service.

According to the state auditor’s website, in fiscal year 2018-19, Kingwood secured $640,500 in refuse collection fees, $482,00 in landfill fees and $11,000 from recycling, for a total of $1,133,500.

In that same year, it spent $559,591 on the trash department, $605,981 on landfill fees and $271,515 on recycling, for a total of $1,437,087.

“Why are we losing money on picking up garbage?” Councilman Dick Shaffer asked, adding if that’s the case, rates may need to be raised.

“It costs us more to have the infrastructure to collect it and the personnel to collect it than we’re charging,” Councilman Mike Lipscomb said. “And I suspect we have the lowest garbage rate around here.”

Whetsell noted that repairs to garbage trucks are expensive. Getting and keeping drivers is also a problem, City Clerk Kayla Huggins said.

“It’s something that we really need to look at very closely,” Recorder Bill Robertson said.

The mayor said he hopes when council works on the budget “we don’t pass the same old budget that we’ve always had.”

Kingwood has 1,908 garbage customers, Huggins said Thursday. That includes residential and business. The basic residential rate is $16.16 per month inside city limits and $18.12 outside city limits.

Council also:

  • Noted that snow parking restrictions are in effect through April 15. City code says parking is not allowed on business streets from 1-6 a.m. Those are Price Street from Brown Avenue to Hartman Street, Main Street from Morgantown Street to Locust, and High Street where there are parking meters.

    Parking is not allowed on other streets at any time unless a variance has been granted.
  • Voted to accept South Price Street from the intersection with Brown Avenue to the pool from the Kingwood Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Voted to put the first receipts from the city municipal tax, $56,469, into the contingency fund.

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