A well-known Columbia program could be on its way out. The city manager is proposing doing away with the vouchers that residents redeem for black trash bags. This comes after a difficult year for Columbia’s Solid Waster Services. Officials said the utility is hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red.
City officials said they budgeted $300,000 for the black garbage bags, but due to a rise in the cost of materials, the city spent upwards of $500,000 on the bags this year. The extra $200,000 came out of city reserves. Officials said if the city keeps the black bag program, it would have to increase rates for consumers.
City officials are looking at multiple ways to keep Solid Waste Services out of the red. One proposal on the table is a “pay as you throw” system, which means the more trash you throw away, the more you pay. They are also considering raising commercial trash rates.
Officials said the city council is waiting on a cost service study to be completed in early October to move forward. At that time, the conversation will be opened up to the public.