Dickson Electric System going up 5 cents on charge for handling $10 monthly sanitation fee

The Dickson Electric System is increasing the amount it charges the Dickson County Sanitation Board to handle the $10 monthly sanitation fee. DES General Manager Darrell Gillespie notified the board that DES will increase its charge by 5 cents per account effective July 1. Since the fee went into effect July 1, 2011, Dickson Electric has handled the billing, mailing and collection of the sanitation fee for the county at a charge of 75 cents per bill under an interlocal agreement that is renewed each year. During the first three years, U.S. postal rates have gone up from 44 cents to 49 cents for first-class mail. Gillespie said last year the Board of Public Utilities was considering an increase in its charge for the sanitation fee, but was able to absorb the extra cost of postage for one more year. DES prints, mails and collects more than 21,000 sanitation fee bills each month, including them with the monthly electric bills. DES also sends sanitation fee bills to about 100 Dickson County residents who have electricity supplied by the Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation in Clarksville at a cost of $1 per account. That fee also will be going up by a nickel under the new agreement. The increased fee is anticipated to cost the Dickson County Solid Waste Department just under $13,000 more a year. At its meeting Tuesday night, the three-member sanitation board expressed a concern about wording in the notice from Dickson Electric that the increased fee will be charged “per account,” instead of per bill. Chairman Ken Nafe said he wants to clarify whether Dickson Electric plans to charge the board for all DES accounts, including those that have been exempted from the sanitation fee by the board. Around 5,000 Dickson Electric meter accounts have been exempted because they are not for homes or businesses or are for vacant properties. Nafe said if Dickson Electric plans to charge the fee for inactive accounts, it will cost an additional $48,000 a year. The board voted to approve the renewal of the agreement with the 5-cent increase contingent on clarifying that the fee is being charged “per billed account” instead of on all Dickson Electric Service accounts. Solid Waste Management Director Jim Lunn said he will have to amend his 2014-15 budget to reflect the increased charge. The budget currently includes $200,000 for billing services. Lunn said Dickson Electric’s increase will not affect the $10 monthly sanitation fee.