Correction: An earlier published version of this story included incorrect information about the amount of the 2023 garbage rate increase. While council had discussed increasing the fee by 12 percent, the final budget includes a 5 percent increase, which for the average customer will mean paying $14.85 more per year. Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft said the smaller increase was achieved with the use of $67,000 from the borough’s fund balance, which council approved doing to help offset the hike. We apologize for any confusion the error may have caused.
Although the 2023 Hellertown borough budget holds the line on property taxes, borough property owners can expect to pay more in sanitation and recycling fees next year.
Borough manager Cathy Hartranft said Tuesday that the budget includes a 5 percent increase in the fees residents and business owners pay for garbage and recycling hauling.
The borough public works department collects garbage curbside in Hellertown, and the borough has a contract with JP Mascaro of Allentown to collect recycling.
Hartranft said the increase is a result of higher 2023 dumping fees, higher recycling fees that the borough has been absorbing for the past few years and “overall costs associated with trash and recycling collection.”
Among those costs could be the cost of legal action against customers who owe the borough thousands of dollars for garbage bills that have never been paid.
At Monday’s borough council meeting, council solicitor Michael Corriere discussed sending letters next month to the customers with outstanding liens for non-payment of sanitation and recycling bills, as part of efforts to recoup the money owed the borough.
“For those residents who do have liens, come January 2023, we will be enforcing and taking action on those outstanding monies owed,” borough council president Tom Rieger said. “You can always work out a (payment) plan with staff to take care of it,” he added.
With the five percent across-the-board increase, the average residential customer will pay an additional $14.85 per year, Hartranft said.
She explained that a 12 percent increase was what was originally discussed, but said that council ultimately decided to use $67,000 from the borough’s fund balance to achieve a smaller rate increase while balancing the budget.
“After reviewing both contracted municipal collection and private collection (haulers), these rates are still one of the lowest in the region,” she added.
Hellertown Borough Council meetings are held the first and third Monday of each month at 7 p.m, in-person at Borough Hall and online via livestreaming and Facebook live.