Garbage fee hike added to utility rate increases in Natchez

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Most Natchez residents will pay more than $75 more per year for garbage collection, utilities and sewer service, based on rate changes approved by the Board of Aldermen.

The board voted this week to raise fees on garbage collection by $2.27 per month. That increase is on top of a water rate increase for most in Natchez, which went into effect on July 1.

Arrow Disposal is under contract with the city to collect garbage from residents here. Arrow did not raise its rates to the city. Rather, based on stipulations in its contract, Arrow increased costs to pay for excess spending on fuel.

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Right now, residents pay $18.90 for twice per week trash collection and once weekly collection of recyclables. An additional dollar is collected for mosquito control, for a total charge of $19.90 per month.

The increase approved Tuesday to allow Arrow to recoup its increased fuel costs adds an addition $2.27 per month to residents’ garbage collection bill, or an additional $27.24 per year. Those costs are included on residents’ water bills.

Natchez Attorney Tim Cotton served as city attorney Tuesday night in place of City Attorney Bryan Callaway, who could not attend the meeting due to a conflict.

Cotton presented the new fees to aldermen. Aldermen learned of the necessity of an increase during its budget process in early September.

In July, city residents also faced a water rate increase, which is being phased in over a five-year period. 

Base ratepayers who use fewer than 300 cubic feet of water per month, saw a $2 per month increase for water and a $2 per month for sewer on July 1. Base rate payers make up 38.5 percent of the city’s 6,939 residential, business and industry connections. This group will not see another increase during the five-year transition period. 

The majority of ratepayers in the city — 46.8 percent — are those who use between 300 and 10,000 cubic feet of water per month. The rate for those users will be increased by 5 percent per 100 cubic feet of water used over five years, beginning with the second year on Oct. 1, 2023.

The 84 largest water users in Natchez pay 36.3 percent of Natchez Water Works annual revenues. These customers include hotels, some restaurants, car washes and industrial and manufacturing businesses.

Rates for those users, while they will increase, will do so at a more modest level over the five-year period. For instance, customers who use 300,000 to 1,000,000 cubic feet of water per month will see an increase in their base rate from $2.46 to $2.58 in year 2, without further increase in subsequent years.