NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- New Kensington homeowners and renters will have to pay nearly double for their garbage pickup next year. The city approved a 73% rate increase. A local leader said they had no choice.
New Kensington residents got the bad news after city council decided to increase the refuse and recycling rate from roughly $78 every three months to $135. More than a few property owners aren't happy about it.
"It's very unfair. They say it was the lowest bidder, but I can't understand why prices have gone so high," said property owner William Radvansky.
"I budget accordingly but, still, that's a big rate increase," said Steven Ross, another property owner.
In a 4-1 vote, city council OK'd a five-year contract with present garbage collection provider County Hauling for $15.2 million, the lowest of three bids, with the highest being $25.3 million.
Ross said it's unfortunate but a sign of the times.
"They pay the employees more, they pay them more benefits, they pay more for gas, it costs them more to service their trucks," he said.
To try to cut further costs, the city and present trash hauler will change from a citywide collection on Fridays to trash pickup over four or five days.
People being angry about their trash rates isn't unusual. KDKA-TV spoke to one council member who was unable to speak on camera but said while he voted for the increase, he doesn't like it either but council had very little choice.
City Councilman Todd Mentecki said, "Even though I am extremely dissatisfied with this substantial increase, we have no other short term viable options to consider. We will explore long term solutions, such as starting to collect trash internally."
While that happens, property owners will have to eat the cost but they won't be the only ones.
"I'm going to have to raise my rates on the tenants and they can't afford that. So, it's going to hit me from both sides," Radvansky said.
The new rates will go into effect on Jan. 1.
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