QUINCY -- Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore says the city's roll cart trash program is experiencing growing pains. "Right now, we have 1,763 (roll cart) customers in the system and we think we have another 700 to 800 that are not in the system yet," Moore said.
He said he and other city officials are anticipating that number of participating households in the roll cart trash program will continue to climb, especially as the city begins enforcing the increased sticker prices.
After May 1, the collection of a small garbage bag, weighing up to 16 gallons, increased to $1.50 and require two blue stickers or one red sticker. The collection of a large garbage bag, weighting more than 16 gallons, increased in cost to $3 and require four blue stickers or two red stickers. But Quincy residents who enroll in the roll cart program do not need to use the stickers.
"People are going to start doing the math as to what a great deal of the city of Quincy's garbage (roll cart) program is," Moore said. "When people do the math they will see the (roll cart) program is more beneficial for them, and that it is easier for them to use because they won't have to go to the grocery store every so often to buy those stickers."
The city's website said if a Quincy household generates five large bags of trash each month they would pay $15 in sticker fees, whereas the same household would pay $12.99 per month to use the garbage roll cart.
Enrolling in the roll cart does require participants to pay a one-time sign-up fee of $60.
Due to the influx of the households signing up for the roll cart program, city officials say they do not have any more roll carts to distribute. The next order of roll carts is expected to arrive by the end of the month.
During Monday's Quincy City Council meeting, aldermen approved spending $44,400 for 2,000 96-gallon roll carts to help bolster the city's supply. These new roll carts will arrive in about three weeks, Moore said.
"I have always said that we are not in the garbage business, so it is really hard for us as a city government to figure out what the response was going to be," Moore said. "I figured that the (roll carts) would probably double, but you never really know."
While many in Quincy await the arrival of the roll carts, Moore said the city is working to be as "customer friendly as possible."
"What we have told people is that if you have signed up for the garbage roll cart and it is not delivered, we will have that address on file, and you can simply put your bags out without a sticker, and we will go ahead and pick them up," Moore said.
The mayor also praised the city's response to the opt-in recycling program, which now includes 4,600 households.
"We had budgeted 2,000 (participating households), so we are happy with the response to the program," Moore said. "With the recycling program, we certainly had no idea how many people were going to sign-up. Word of mouth was that people would be signing up and support it, but if you recall that in the first couple of weeks we only had a couple hundred people signed up. We did a call to action and now we have 4,600 signed up."
Moore also acknowledged that many residents in Quincy had evolved in their perception of the recycling program.
"First, I hoped that they looked at their utility bill and realized that the $4 per month was coming off due to the public safety fee that was enacted last year was being sunset," Moore said. "Then, when they looked at what they could afford, it was only $12 per year compared to what it would cost them to put those recyclable products in a garbage roll cart or bag."