Garbage fee could keep Cascade in the black

THE VILLAGE OF CASCADE is the latest municipality in the county to grapple with paying for the cost of garbage removal for residents.

Village officials – like their town, city and school district counterparts across the county and state – are finalizing their budget and tax picture for the coming year.

Like so many, they are struggling with balancing their resident’s demands for services with tight revenues and state-imposed limits on spending and tax increases.

As a smaller village, Cascade doesn’t have a lot of leeway as they try to keep their budget balanced.

The goal is to keep revenues ahead of expenses without overtaxing citizens, which is never an easy thing to do.

In Cascade, village officials have done a commendable job year after year in keeping taxes low while keeping the budget balanced without borrowing to cover expenses and adding those costs to future budgets.

But it has become more and more of a challenge with each passing year as expenses increase.

One of those costs that keeps rising is garbage collection, which the village has borne the cost of for all these years.

But like many of their colleagues in other communities, officials in Cascade are finding that garbage collection costs are outstripping their ability to fit them comfortably in the budget.

The answer proposed to the Village Board earlier this month by its Finance Committee is to begin charging village residents a $5 a month fee for collecting garbage.

It’s a step many other municipalities have already taken and should be more acceptable – and neater - than forcing village residents to pay and make arrangements for their own garbage collection. That, they would quickly discover, would cost them much more than just $5 a month.

Village President David Jaeckels pledged to combine that fee proposal with continued belt-tightening by the village, although he conceded that the fiscal belt has already been cinched pretty tight by the village.

“One of the reasons we’ve had a solid community is we’ve always operated on the positive side of the ledger,” when it comes to budgeting, Jaeckels stated. He pointed out that village residents already enjoy a property tax rate as well as water and sewer fees that are among the lowest in the area.

The village is contemplating adding the proposed garbage fee to village residents’ property tax bills, rather than setting a separate – and costly – procedure for collecting the fee.

That system already is utilized in many other places, including the city of Plymouth, and seems to work well there, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t in Cascade as well.

It will put an extra $60 on the tax bill every year for Cascade residents, but in today’s world, it’s a small price to pay for getting their garbage picked up and hauled away.

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