When you take out the trash, it could cost you a couple of extra dollars a month in Staunton. The city is considering raising the rates for trash and recycling pick-up to pay for a service that's in the red.
Staunton's City Manager Steve Owen says it costs more for curbside collection and the landfill expansion was expensive. Now, the city's turning to taxpayers to pick up the tab on some of the shortfall.
Megan Masson makes a trip to Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park weekly to dump her recycling.
"Usually on the weekends, but day off today and doing it a little early," said Masson.
Cardboard, plastic and glass go in so she can avoid tossing away too much in the trash.
"Just cut back on what you're throwing away and try to recycle in the home as much as you can," said Masson.
Reducing and refusing still won't save her wallet. Staunton is considering a 25 percent increase to the fee it charges for trash and recycling collection. The extra $362,500 would help to fill a $1 million shortfall in the city's environmental fund.
"Because it is running in the red, we really have an obligation to get it back in the black," said Owen.
Home customers would pay $3 more a month, and small businesses would add about $7 to their trash bill.
"The cost of running a landfill and taking care of trash and recycling continue to go up every year. We haven't raised our fee in a few years," said Erik Curren, Staunton city councilor.
Adding to the shortfall, the city's share of tipping fees at the landfill has dropped nearly in half since 2006.
"The more stuff we can keep out of the landfill, the longer that landfill will last us. That's really the most fiscally responsible thing we can do for our citizens when it comes to trash," said Curren.
A few extra dollars a month is a value to Masson.
"It's definitely worth it. I think people should be recycling more and if it costs more you should contribute and pay for it," said Masson.
City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed refuse and recycling rate increases Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Councilors are also considering a $25 charge for new customers to get recycling bins.