After sanitation rate increase denial, mayor says service to slow down, workers to be laid off

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said almost 275 solid waste employees will likely be let go and services will decline after city council denied a requested increase in solid waste fees.

Strickland’s administration proposed raising the residential solid waste service free from its current $22.80 per household per month to $29.96 per household per month.

The measure failed with a 6-6 tie vote on its third and final reading Tuesday in city council.

The mayor said in a weekly letter that this increase is necessary to cover recent improvements made to the solid waste department.

“Initially, we did not propose a rate increase, but fully acknowledged we may well have to in the future,” Strickland said in his letter. “We wanted time to see how our new model would work and exactly what it what it would cost.”

Strickland said beginning Jan. 6, 2020, solid waste services will dramatically reduce. He said 199 full-time solid waste employees will be laid off, along with 75 temporary employees.

Also beginning Jan. 6, no trash outside garbage carts will be picked up, and recycling will only pick collected once per month.

Strickland said the current fee is lower than it was in 2013 at $25.05 per month.

Memphis City Council members could propose to revisit the issue in light of the mayor’s letter.

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