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Latrobe's garbage rates to increase in 4-year pact

| Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Latrobe residents will see a rise in trash rates in January, but that cost will remain the same for the next four years under a new garbage contract approved by the city.

Council OK'd the fee schedule for residential and commercial trash rates as well as residential single-stream recycling at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Republic Services, which also does business as Allied Waste and Greenridge Waste Services, was the apparent low bidder with the pact approved by council in September.

Residential quarterly rates will rise from $40 this year to $45 in 2014, but they will remain the same through the end of the contract on Dec. 31, 2018.

That is a 12.5 percent increase, according to City Manager Alex Graziani.

The cost of stickers, which are placed on bags in excess of trash cans at the curb, will also rise from 33 cents to 40 cents each.

Each resident will be delivered a new 65-gallon tote in the next few months for single-stream recycling, including cardboard and newspaper. For an extra fee, residents can sign up for a larger 95-gallon tote for trash beginning Nov. 15.

Graziani said the new trash containers will begin use on Jan. 6.

Commercial trash rates will also see an uptick in January, depending on the size of the container and frequency of pickup, rising 8.2 percent.

The steady rate in the next few years for customers will shrink the city's income from trash collection, Graziani said.

The city earns about $330,000 each year by marking up the wholesale price for trash hauled by Allied, which equates to about 5.5 mills of property tax.

In addition to paying for billing, the funds netted through trash collection, including those at the transfer station, help generate about one-third of the city's income to account for rising costs not covered by those taxes, Graziani said.

“While nonprofits don't pay taxes for real estate, they do need garbage pickup,” he said, adding that about 25 percent of the city's land is not taxed because of those organizations.

Over the five years of the contract, Latrobe will pay the hauler $3.89 million, beginning at $743,676 and increasing to $838,619.

In other business, council:

• Approved an annual agreement with Westmoreland County Transit Authority for the fiscal year ending June 30.

• Approved a policy to use, a message notification system, to alert residents of emergencies or advisories after signing up via the website for email or cellphone text messages.

The city is still testing the system and is working with Latrobe police Chief James Bumar to finalize the types of messages sent to subscribers, Graziani said.

Prompted by a question by Councilman Mike Skapura at the meeting, Graziani said there is no cost to the city for participation in the system.

• Approved a Dog Law Enforcement Agreement with Hoffman's Boarding Kennels in Delmont for 2014.

Unlicensed dogs are euthanized after 48 hours, but licensed dogs are given five days within notification to the owner. The kennel first contacts five or six local adoption agencies before taking such measures, Bumar said, adding that euthanasias are very rare.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or