Trash pickup fees in McPherson are about to increase, following action by the McPherson City Commission requested by the McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility.


The commission approved a 3.5% increase by McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility (MASWU) to their base residential trash rates, as well as a $.10 increase per month to the residential closed landfill fee.


The new rates will be in effect Jan. 1, 2021.


The commission added the increase to the residential closed landfill fee during learning session discussions a week ago.


"That is in the event that we would have to do a major cleanup of the old landfill," said Nick Gregory, City Administrator. "We do have to test it yearly, and we do have to do that for quite some time."


The rate adjustment came out of discussions of the MASWU of how to deal with a changing market in the area of recyclables — a similar discussion had by several municipalities and counties in the region during the past two years. In nearby Newton, the city nearly killed recycling pickup before getting rid of mandatory recycling and keeping a voluntary program.


"There was much discussion at the annual meeting regarding the possibility of an increase in the recycling rate as a result of the decline in global recycling markets," wrote Mary Pywell, Office/Finance Manager of the MASWU in a letter to the city commission. "Following the annual meeting the Utility Board and the County Commissioners took action to increase the solid waste assessment to help offset the costs incurred handling solid waste generated in McPherson County. Because of the increase in assessment, the Utility will not increase the recycling rate per household at this time."


Following the change base rates for residential service will be: One cart, $ 9.93; two carts, $15.75; three carts, $24.61; four carts, $33.46; and five carts $42.33.


The commission also considered a rate increase for sewer charges — adding a $1 to the base rate, and increasing the rate $.10 per million gallons of water used. The new base rate will be $17 and the per gallon feel will increase from $2.40/Mgal to $2.50/Mgal.