PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) — Port Allen Mayor Roger Bergeron told the city council that as of Aug. 1 and lacking a trash service rate increase, the city stands to lose about $316,000 during the four years left in its contract with Progressive Waste Solutions.

Bergeron attributed the loss to a $3.29 cost gap between what the city charges residents for trash service and what the city pays to Progressive Waste each month.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/Qi69U3 ) residents currently pay $17 a month for trash pickup.

Bergeron says Progressive rates jumped Wednesday from $19.49 to $20.29 per month for each of the 2,007 households it services.

The increase was based on an "accelerator" clause in the contract that Bergeron said gives Progressive the option of imposing annual rate increases.

Bergeron said the 80-cent-per-household rate increase that went into effect Wednesday means the city would lose about $6,600 per month during the life of the contract because of the $3.29 per household cost gap.

The city has lost $60,000 during the first year of the contract with company, he said.

Bergeron suggested the council consider renegotiating the city's current contract as a means of reducing its loss.

"I met with Progressive officials yesterday and they seemed open to doing that," he said.

A new contract could give city leaders the option of scaling back trash service to once a week instead of twice a week, Bergeron suggested.

"That would obviously reduce our costs and hopefully eat up this $300,000 loss," he said. "If we don't alter service, we have to go with the 80-cent increase. It pretty much has to be done or you go further in the hole."

The council already is mulling two rate-increase options offered by Bergeron. The first is an annual increase of 63 cents per year per customer and the second is a $1 annual increase per customer.

The mayor said increasing customer costs by 63 cents would reduce the city's loss by 47 percent.

The city still stands to lose about $76,000 if the council choses to adopt the $1 annual increase, he added.

The council gave no indication Wednesday about when it would make a final decision. The council's next regular meeting Aug. 8.


Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com