Roeland Park residents can expect to see a decrease in their 2019 annual solid waste fee following councilmembers 6-1 vote in favor of charging $198– a $2 decrease from what residents currently pay.
Councilors chose between the $198 fee and an alternative $212 option that would have accounted for staff time used to facilitate the city’s annual leaf pickup program. Councilmember Claudia McCormack was the lone councilor who voted against the $198 fee.
The more expensive option would have shifted $44,700 of leaf program costs from taxes to the assessment fee, according to a staff report. The cost equates to about .5 mills.
Including staff time costs is a practice used by communities with leaf programs across the nation, said director of public works Jose Leon.
“No other community excludes their employees’ staff time in their assessment,” Leon said. “It’s all one package.”
While discussing assessment options during an April workshop several councilmembers were very vocal about their opposition to tacking leaf program employee costs onto the assessment fee. Councilmember Tom Madigan questioned whether the city would consider adding snow removal cost to the fee next.
The 2019 program also accounts for public works using a new leaf vacuum truck, approved by council earlier this year. Public works plans to expand the schedule from six to 12 weeks, allowing for three pickup opportunities per home. The overall cost of the leaf program is expected to decrease by about $6,000 thanks to increased efficiency expected by using the new truck.