POLK CITY — Households and businesses in Polk City will pay more for trash pick-up after the first of the year.
City commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a rate bump requested by Republic Services, the city’s solid-waste vendor.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, Republic will charge $14.06 for monthly pick-up, up from $13.88 a month, an increase of 18 cents. That will bring a resident’s annual bill to $211.20, up from $208.20. The service covers trash, yard waste, limbs, recycling and landfill charges.
Commercial customers will see their monthly bill climb to $31.22 from $30.83 for hand pick-up. The cost of trash-bin collection will increase to $7.97 per cubic yard of debris, a jump of 10 cents.
Commissioners agreed to Republic’s request because it’s been three years since the company last increased its rates for Polk City. A Republic representative told commissioners that the company must pass on increasing costs of doing business, such as insurance and fleet maintenance.
“We’ve turned down the last three requests for a rate hike,” Mayor Joe LaCascia said before the commission’s vote.
Polk County severed its contract with Republic Services at the end of September after faulting the Phoenix-based trash hauler for failing to collect waste in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and other matters. County residents saw their fees increase to $188.50 a year under new vendors.
Polk City City Manager Patricia Jackson said outside of Monday night’s meeting that Republic has served the city well. “We have a very good relationship.”
In other business at Monday’s meeting, commissioners Wanda Harris, Don Kimsey and Joe LaCascia were sworn in for another four-year term, and Commissioner Randy Carroll took an oath to serve out the remaining two years of a post vacated by Keith Prestage, who became the city’s public works director in February 2017.
The four commissioners automatically retained their seats after entering the April 3 election unchallenged.
LaCascia was elected by fellow commissioners to serve another year as mayor, his ninth. Harris was elected to continue as vice mayor for another year.
Commissioners also voted 4-1, with Mike Blethen the lone dissenter, to add a part-time sheriff’s deputy to the payroll. The city currently has a single Polk sheriff’s deputy working a full-time shift. Rather than spend $90,000 a year to hire another full-time deputy, commissioners settled on a compromise.
With Monday’s vote, the city will hire a second deputy to work a special detail of 16 hours a week, or four hours a day for four days, at just over $28,000 a year, or $34 an hour. The shift will change from day to day.
Commissioner Blethen noted that the city has not experienced a rise in crime, but other commissioners reasoned that the added deputy will be able to assist with traffic enforcement and other problems that are surfacing because of growth.
“The city’s growing, and we have one police officer,” Kimsey said. “She (the city’s full-time deputy) does a good job, but she can’t be everywhere.”
Eric Pera can be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7528.