Water, sewer bills going up in Bradenton. Changes in recycling are also coming

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Recycling is the number one activity we can do to protect Planet Earth. These tips will help you become a better participant.
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Recycling is the number one activity we can do to protect Planet Earth. These tips will help you become a better participant.

What Bradenton residents pay for water and sewer, garbage pickup and other utility services is going up.

Rates for water and sewer, as well as for reclaimed water, will go up by 2 percent. Stormwater rates will increase 25 cents a month, and the solid waste rate will increase by 60 cents per month. The Bradenton City Council voted unanimously to raise the rates Wednesday.

Public Works director Jim McLellan said the increases will cover operating costs, the cost of health insurance for employees, maintaining operations and the ability to continue the ongoing infrastructure improvement program underway for the past several years.

But where residents will see the most change for their additional bucks is in solid waste.

The city is looking to phase out its side-arm garbage trucks, which are difficult to fit down small roads and McLellan said have been a “maintenance nightmare.” Instead, McLellan said they will start replacing those trucks with rear-loading ones, which often require an additional person on board.

“Part of this increase is to pay the additional personnel,” McLellan said.

He added they will switch to single-stream recycling, a system similar to what Manatee County already uses. The recycling group currently used by the city of Bradenton will cease operations in October, according to McLellan.

Public service announcement on recycling in Manatee County.

The switch comes at a cost.

Currently, the city pays $28 per ton for recycling services. With that price expected to increase due to the new single-stream service, McLellan said they’re now budgeting $100 per ton. McLellan said they have about 2,000 tons of recycling per year.

Workers sort recycled materials at the Rolling Meadows Materials Recovery Facility in Shawnee County near Topeka, Kansas. The center uses a system of machines to sort the co-mingled recycling that garbage haulers collect from residents and separat

But once the process begins, residents will no longer have to separate recyclables.

Water and sewer rate increases will bring in an additional $414,755 to the city’s net revenue, while stormwater rate hike will bring in an extra $102,000 and solid waste rate increase will add $463,500 to the city.

Chemical costs to treat the water is about $1.8 million per year, while chemical costs for treating sewage is about $400,000 a year, according to McLellan.

Bradenton residents are not alone in seeing rate increases this year. The city of Palmetto is also anticipated to raise utility rates.

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Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.