The council voted unanimously to cut the rate for residents over 65 from $15 a month to $12 a month, said Brandy Edwards, the city manager for the Cherokee-Pickens County town of about 1,300.
Councilman Duane Cronic brought a proposal before the council Monday night, asking for that rate be taken down. Cronic said the city’s sanitation department was losing money, when he came into office two years ago, because of employees being overpaid and debt from a work truck.
“Myself and (Councilman) Jonathan Bishop decided that we could no longer afford to pay our sanitation workers more than any other private company in the area was paying their veteran drivers,” Cronic said Thursday. “So we made cuts to give the sanitation department an opportunity to become profitable in Nelson again, which has happened since our initial changes.”
Cronic said he brought up reducing budgeted revenue for the department, which generally makes a profit, in June 2013 by cutting cost for seniors, but it hadn’t come back up until Monday.
“I felt that we should not continue to profit from loyal senior citizens that were on fixed incomes, and therefore should give a reduction in their trash rate to this segment of our population,” he said. “The city will continue to make a small profit off the sanitation department, as it should to justify the existence of such a service.”
The sparsely populated town has 179 residents paying for city sanitation, with 60 of those being seniors, according to documents from Nelson.
For the new rate to apply, Edwards said residents must provide proof of age and residence.