City officials are re-examining data that indicates that 80 percent of Wichita residents will pay less for trash service if the city adopts a cooperative trash system based on $20 monthly fees.
City Manager Robert Layton said Friday that the 80 percent figure was derived by collecting price schedules from all area trash haulers and asking those haulers what percentage of their customers pay more than $20 a month.
As word of the trash proposal spread, Layton said, he and other city officials began to hear from dozens of residents who said their bills didn't seem to fall in line with the data.
"What we didn't have and what we need to get a little better information about is discounts and how frequently they are offered," he said.
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Layton said he's heard from customers who pay as much as $90 a quarter to those who pay as little as $30 or $35 a quarter. The smallest bills don't include such extras as curbside recycling, he said.
Under the Wichita proposal, city residents would pay a $20 monthly fee for weekly trash service, bi-weekly curbside recycling and an annual bulk waste pickup. The monthly fee would show up on water bills.
The plan would use a cooperative of the city's 22 trash haulers to serve its estimated 110,000 to 115,000 residential customers.
City officials have said that setting the monthly fee below $20 would drive many of the smaller haulers out of business.
Layton said Friday that he hopes to collect better data that includes not only the quarterly rates of the haulers, but the services that go with the rates. He said he also hopes to get better information about how many customers pay discounted rates.
Some homeowners associations have discounted agreements with haulers.
Layton said he was still confident that most Wichita customers will see a reduction in trash bills if the monthly fee is set at $20.
"I don't know where we're going to end up, but I believe that the $20 number is going to be as good or better for the majority of customers," he said.