The Cheyenne City Council Finance Committee has voted not to recommend approval of a proposed five percent increase in trash collection fees for city residents.

Councilmen Richard Johnson and Mike Luna on Monday morning voted not to recommend approval, while Councilman Rocky Case voted in favor of the recommendation.

The Finance Committee vote does not kill the proposal, but rather means it will go back to the full city council with no recommendation from the committee.

When the committee offered to take public comment on the proposal at the hearing, no one came forward to offer input. Councilman Case expressed disappointment at the lack of public comment, noting he had seen "a lot of bellyaching on social media" about the proposed increase, adding he would have would have welcomed the opportunity to address some of those concerns.

During committee discussion on the proposal, Councilman Johnson questioned how he could justify the proposed increase when it deviated from the recommendations made by a consultant of five consecutive years of 8 percent increases each year.

Public Works Director Vicki Nemeck noted three years of 8 percent increases have been implemented but said the fact that a lifetime permit for the Happy Jack Landfill will allow for vertical expansion on the landfill and delay the need for a planned horizontal expansion project for a few years allowed for a reduction in the latest proposed increase to five percent.

But she said the department still has to cover costs including fuel, equipment, employee raises and disposal costs, among other expenses.

 

She also said a study for an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan will have to be conducted next year, which will determine the future course of how the city will dispose of trash.

At another point in the discussion, Johnson asked whether city residents could simply opt out of paying the fees to the city and dispose of trash on their own. Nemecek said city ordinance does not allow that.