ATTLEBORO — The annual trash and recycling fee has been raised more than 15 percent and there is a big change coming regarding bulk item pickup.
Details about the city’s new trash and recycling program, negotiated by the mayor and health department and approved by the city council, were released Wednesday.
The fee is increasing $31.44 from $202.68 to $234.12, a hike of 15.5 percent. It is divided into fourths and paid quarterly.
The last increase in the trash fee came in fiscal year 2017 when then-mayor Kevin Dumas requested and got an $18 annual hike, which brought the fee to its current level.
Perhaps the biggest change in the program is the bulk item pickup.
Currently, homeowners are allowed one free item a week, but starting sometime this fall, probably September, residents will have to call Waste Management directly and pay $29 to pick up items like sofas or chairs.
Mayor Paul Heroux said this change was spurred by abuse of the free program by people outside the city.
“We had people from other areas bringing items in and the ratepayers had to pick up the cost,” the mayor said.
The abuse was evident with multiple homes throwing out multiple big items like couches every year, he said.
“How many sofas do you throw out in a year?” Heroux said. “This is a consequence of people abusing the program.”
Meanwhile, new trash barrels are on the way.
The new barrels will have a 35-gallon capacity and an attached cover, similar to the recycling bins already in use.
They will be delivered by Waste Management to trash and recycling ratepayers in August.
Currently, most people use 30-gallon barrels.
“Ninety-nine percent of people will be better off with the additional five gallons of waste space,” the mayor said.
If there’s additional trash, it must be placed in a city of Attleboro trash bag, which cost $2 each and come in packs of five for a total of $10.
The mayor emphasized that recycling rules are stiffer.
All items that include non-shredded paper, plastic and glass must be clean.
“We get fined for noncompliance,” Heroux said. “Noncompliance includes dirty materials like dirty paper plates, pasta or peanut butter jars with food in them, shredded paper, greasy or cheesy pizza boxes, etc.”
He said residents should follow the old saying, “if there is any doubt, throw it out.”
There’s a new number for electronics and metals pickup, 508-822-1579.
Those pickups include TVs, washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, toasters, VCR/DVD players, air conditioners and radios.
And there’s a new limit on TVs — one. Disposal of additional TVs will incur a fee.
Heroux said no changes are planned for access to the compost center and hazardous materials recycling except that ratepayers will get a sticker for their vehicles.
Non-ratepayers will get charged $30 for a sticker.
Landscapers will have to pay $36 per load to dump compost.
Illegal dumping fines are going up. A first offense will cost the perpetrator $100. A second is $200 and a third and all those after will incur $300 fines.