An error by Republic Services has led to billing confusion for Swanton residents, according to Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. Republic mistakenly had a new contract begin on June 1, when the terms of the contract call for it to begin July 1, she said.
Village residents recently received bills from Republic showing extra charges for June, despite the contract not including a price increase until July. A normal quarterly bill for 2019 should have a base rate of $48.12.
As of Monday, the Village of Swanton still had not received a signed copy of the contract from Republic Services.
“I, obviously was not very pleased with the situation, Hoelzle said. “And, I asked that Republic do something about it.”
Republic Services has agreed to credit all customers in Swanton the difference from the old rate to the new rate for the month of June 2019. This credit should be reflected on the invoice customers receive in September.
She said village officials will have to be prepared to hear from residents.
“I’m sure this is going to cause a lot of confusion for people. I will deal with that. We will deal with that,” she said. “But, the agreement that was sent to Republic said July 1 and they didn’t honor that.”
Republic Services Media Relations said the company is actively working to make corrections to the invoices and apologizes for the inconvenience.
Another element of confusion for residents was the elimination of the senior discount, or subsidy. Hoelzle drafted a letter to send to impacted residents and was waiting for Republic to confirm the new agreement language before sending out the information.
The village spent about $23,000 per year to cover the senior discount. There was no discount provided by Republic.
Village numbers show they are paying for 246 accounts plus a monthly fuel recovery fee. However, a list provided by Republic included only 212 individuals receiving the senior discount.
“On May 28 Swanton Village Council agreed to enter into a new contract with Republic Services but discontinue this subsidy,” said Hoelzle. “Swanton Village Council believes the over $23,000 spent on this subsidy should be used for other purposes within the village such as road improvements, park improvements, and capital improvement expenses.”
The new contract begins July 1 with a cost of $16.04 per month in Year 1. The current cost is $13.43 per month. In Year 2 the price increases to $16.52 per month, with increases to $17.02, $17.53, and $18.06 in subsequent years.
Reasons cited for the cost increase were the addition of one bulk pick up per quarter and a change in recycling policies in several Asian countries that has made it more costly and difficult to recycle many items in the United States. Residents should call Republic Services at 734-848-3633 to schedule bulk pick up.
Two companies submitted proposals after a request was made by the village in late 2018. Council decided to move forward with Republic Services and approved a five-year contract last week, naming the company the exclusive franchise for residential solid waste and recycling pick-up.