San Benito garbage collection rates may increase

SAN BENITO — Residents paying some of the Rio Grande Valley’s highest bills for city services might face new increases.

The city is proposing a slight monthly rate rise for its garbage pick-up service.

A hike in the Consumer Price Index has led Republic Services, the company that collects the city’s garbage, to pass down the increase to the city and its residents.

Earlier this week, city commissioners postponed action on City Manager Manuel De La Rosa’s request to amend the ordinance setting garbage rates.

But the issue is expected to be addressed again at a future meeting.

“We are amending the ordinance in accordance with the city’s contractual obligation with Republic Services,” city spokeswoman Martha McClain stated yesterday.

The city is proposing increasing its monthly residential single-family rate from $20.34 to $21.04, according to the proposed ordinance.

Meanwhile, the monthly multi-unit rate and the commercial rate are pro-posed to increase from $39.24 to $40.60.

Under the proposed ordinance, commercial rates are proposed to increase based on the size of the garbage bin and the frequency of garbage pick-up.

According to the pro-posed ordinance, rates would increase from as little as $52.31 to $54.12 for a two-yard bin picked up once a week to as much as $1,215.96 to $1,258.03 for an eight-yard bin picked up six times a week.

The proposed ordinance would tack additional increases to some of the Rio Grande Valley’s biggest monthly service bills.

For years, the city’s residents have faced some of the region’s highest water bills.

In 2004, the city began increasing its base water and sewer rates to help pay for utility improvements including a $17.7 million water plant, a $13 million sewer plant and a $1.6 million water tower.

Now, the city’s base water rate stands at $20.59 for as much as 2,000 gallons while the sewer rate is $29.09 for up to 2,000 gallons.

The monthly bills in-clude the current garbage pick-up rate of $20.34.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed amended ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

On Tuesday, De La Rosa did not disclose the reason he requested commissioners postpone their vote.

The agenda called for both the proposed ordi-nance’s first and second readings to be considered at the meeting.

However, the City Charter apparently does not allow that.

“Except as otherwise prescribed in this charter, an ordinance shall not be passed at the meeting of the city commission at which it is first introduced but it may then be considered and discussed and shall be considered for adoption at a subsequent meeting of the city com-mission when it may be considered and a vote taken on the question of its adoption,” the charter states.