When the City of Racine implemented a recycling cart fee as part of the 2010 budget, residents were told that the fee was to pay for the new recycling carts. Residents would need to pay $10 for 10 years, and then it would go away.
At that time, Mayor John Dickert said he was for reducing or eliminating the $10 cart fee at some point in the future.
But over the years, the recycling fee increased to $11, $26 and then $29.72.
Now, as city officials roll out the 2020 budget, there is no sign of the recycling fee rolling back.
Instead, in its 10th anniversary year, the fee is proposed to increase from $29.72 to $57.39.
Granted, over the past 10 years, much has changed.
The recycling industry nationwide has been hit by restrictions from China about the level of contamination that nation will accept in recyclable materials.
Racine Department of Public Works Commissioner John Rooney said the city used to receive about $100,000 in revenue for recyclable materials. For 2020, the city has budgeted $300,000 to pay recycling companies to take the materials off the city’s hands — a drop of about $400,000. The city still receives approximately $320,000 from a state recycling grant, which mitigates some of the damage.