Revenue from a $2-per-month hike in garbage collection fees could fund lease payments on 33 new garbage trucks and significantly reduce annual maintenance costs on aging vehicles for the Consolidated Government of Columbus, Ga., under a new proposal from Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

The city would lease the trucks for a 7-year term at an annual cost of $1.3 million, according to Tomlinson's plan that she included in her annual budget proposal.

An internal audit this year found that 66% of the city’s 83 refuse trucks need replacement and annual major repair costs for these trucks are projected to reach $2 million. Auditors recommended leasing rather than purchasing and had suggested a $5 monthly increase. Residents now pay $15 monthly.

In her proposal, Tomlinson estimated $1.5 million in annual maintenance savings, fuel savings, and other less direct savings with the new trucks. However, she said it would be irresponsible to use these anticipated savings numbers to fund a multiple-year leasing agreement with no back-up resources available. The mayor’s plan is to order the vehicles, monitor the resulting savings for a year, and reassess the fee during the FY-2018 budget.

The Integrated Waste Fund is an enterprise fund but has not been self-sustaining for several years. The fund has “tens of millions of dollars in incurred, but unfunded, future liability in the form of critical capital needs and landfill closure costs,” according to the budget proposal.

The City Council will review the budget proposal, and they must reach an agreement by June 30, the Ledger Enquirer reported.