Time to pay for garbage pickup?

SHIRLEY — Shirley residents could be saddled with the bill for their curbside trash pick-up for the first time in coming months as town leaders look for ways to cut back on spending.

Officials are considering eliminating the $45,000 annual expense of covering residents’ trash pickup, saying the town needs to cut costs in the next six months to balance the books. Customers should expect their bill to increase by about $10 per month if the proposal goes through, Clerk-treasurer Teresa Hester said.

Several other towns in Hancock County pay for residents’ trash pick-up.

The town of Fortville pays $131,000 to cover trash pick-up, and has for at least 15 years, said Tammy White, Fortville office manager. McCordsville paid $204,000 for basic trash pick-up in 2016, according to state records.

Hester, who took office in December, is urging town officials to cut back on spending while they anxiously await an audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts. Shirley’s last audit, filed by the Indiana State Board of Accounts in 2012, stated “the town did not properly maintain accounting records.”

Hester said the town is due to be audited by the Indiana State Board of Accounts this year, and she is eager for the extra help in analyzing the town’s finances.

Meanwhile, Hester has told town council members they need to consider cutting back on any unnecessary expenses and weigh whether any town property, including an old police car, can be sold.

Historically, the town has covered the cost of trash pick-up for residents, but Hester told town council members that’s an expense the town should considering requiring customers to cover to save the town money.

The council is expected to take up the matter at its next monthly meeting, 9:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at city hall, 409 Main St. Residents are welcome to speak.

Town council member Becky Perkins said she expects to hear complaints from her neighbors, who will see higher bills if the council approves the measure.

“Whenever we raise a bill, people are upset, but it’s necessary if we want to keep the town afloat,” she said.

Hester said state auditors expect to go through the town’s books with her this fall.

Meanwhile, she is working to transfer all records to an electronic form she hopes will make it easier for state auditors to analyze. Though payroll and claims were converted to online software in 2014, all other receipts and record-keeping were done by hand until this year, Hester said.

If you go

The Shirley Town Council is weighing whether to discontinue paying for residents’ trash pick-up, a $45,000 annual expense.

Members of the public are welcome to speak about the proposal at the council’s next meeting, 9:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at city hall, 409 Main St.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.