Montgomery City Council May Propose Garbage Fee Increase

Tough decisions to make - at its work session, Montgomery city council members bounced around ideas about how to balance the budget.  "we have less money than we need," said Councilwoman Martha Roby.

Roby said the majority of the council wants to raise garbage fees something she opposes. Roby says before they raise revenues, council members need to make cuts. She said that, "could potentially be cutting employees and that's unfortunate."

Councilman Willie Cook calls this the tightest budget he's ever worked on. He doesn't want to cut personnel and believes raising revenue by increasing fees is an option. "It's very important we plug this hole in our budget," he says.

Roby says cutting garbage pick up from twice to once a week would save just as much money as they'd raise by increasing the fee including $800,000 in fuel costs. "I think before you increase fees, you need to cut back and that is one area where we can," said Roby.

The proposed garbage fee increase is $4 added with increases to leasing fees, business licenses plus the council plans to ask the mayor to cut his proposed budget by 3%; with the other proposals that would save $15-million. "That would put the all the money back in the reserve the mayor took out for his proposed budget," said Roby.

But, Roby fears the council could find itself in a budget battle like it struggled through two years ago. She says, "at some point, someone has to step up to bat and be brave enough to make the tough decisions."