I recently had an exchange of emails with a resident who was asking about the “Recycling” fee that is listed on her utility bill.
In particular, she said that her bill showed a $5.01 monthly charge for “Recycling” but she said that she knew the Portage County Recycling fee for Kent is $2.21 per month — so she was asking about the other $2.81.
It’s a good question and I thought I’d pass along my response since the answer would apply to everyone in Kent.
“I got some further clarification on the billing for you.
As I suspected, the new billing system has the capability to list all of the items included in the calculation for what is labeled as “Recycling” but for simplification purposes all of the small categories have continued to be “lumped” together.
All of the items that are lumped together are solid waste service related and perhaps it would make more sense to change the category title from “Recycling” to “Solid Waste Services”.
Here’s the list of what that “Recycling” fee goes towards paying:
Portage County Recycling Service
Weekly Downtown Litter Cleanup and Trash Can Emptying
Public Yard-Waste Drop Off Site Operation
Capital purchases for solid waste services provided by the City (1-ton dump truck, tree chippers and leaf vac equipment)
Christmas Tree Pickup
Brush/Tree Limb Tub Grinding (2 times per year)
Spring Brush Pickup
Spring Pickup Bagged Leaves
Fall Brush Pickup
Staffing Yard-waste Transfer Side to Load Mulch for the Public
Emergency Storm Cleanup
For 2016, the costs of all of those services add up the $5.01 fee listed on your bill. This break out of all of the fees is reviewed, discussed, and approved by City Council in public meetings each year as part of the annual budget process (usually in October/November).
It seems like a lot to list out separately on the bill so I still think it makes sense to “lump” those smaller fees together — especially since even when they are all added together they only add up to about 6% of the average utility bill.
But it also makes sense to re-evaluate the category title and consider changing it to Solid Waste Services. We’ll also look at putting out some additional general information about what that fee is all about in case other people have the same question as you.”