Janesville residents could see their trash bills increase

City’s sanitation system may no longer be able to subsidize trash services

Published On: Jun 05 2013 08:07:36 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 05 2013 08:25:22 PM CDT
Janesville dump

Janesville residents could see their trash bill almost double as city leaders work to close a shortfall in the city's sanitation fund.

For about a month, Janesville’s new automated trash collection system has been running smoothly. But buried in the rubble are financial troubles for the city's sanitation fund.

"The financial issues within the sanitation fund are not related to the new automated collection program," said John Whitcomb, Janesville’s operations director.

Whitcomb said, at its peak in 2008, the sanitation fund had more than $12.5 million. But by 2012 it had dropped to just under $300,000.

Residents have never paid the full cost of some trash services simply because the city was able to subsidize the cost with additional revenue generated from the landfill, said Whitcomb.

Whitcomb said the City Council's decision to stop importing waste from other communities contributed to the decrease in revenue.

"The landfill no longer generates enough revenue to pay for these other programs. It continues to pay for itself but not these other programs. So the business model right now is not sustainable," says Whitcomb.

Just over the border in Walworth County, Town of Darien residents rake in about $250,000 thousand of annual revenue from their landfill.

"We're guaranteed $250,000 but it’s always gone over," said Town Board Supervisor Dale Wheelock.

It's owned and operated by a private company but town leaders negotiated a deal to get a profit for every ton deposited there.

Wheelock said the surplus is put to good use.

"We give money for the fireworks for the Darien Cornfest; we helped buy band uniforms for Delavan Darien High School. We do many things to help,” said Wheelock.

Trash collection costs could rise from just under $60 to around $95. The City Council is expected to discuss solutions to the issues with the sanitation fund at a meeting later this month.