Stoughton residents might soon have more flexibility in discarding bulk waste.

The Common Council unanimously authorized the city attorney Sept. 10 to review a proposed garbage disposal rate increase and a couple contract amendments for John’s Disposal Service.

The first amendment would allow for pickup of bulk items on a “call in” basis, rather than being at the end of each month. Business owners working out of their home and other residents tend to abuse the program, John’s Disposal municipal account manager Nate Austin said.

“Probably the biggest one is tenant evictions or people just moving out, filling the curb with their junk,” he said.

With a call-in program, residents would still only have one opportunity each month to have bulk items removed, but they would be able to choose the week they want that pickup to occur. This will also make bulk collection more efficient in times of the year when there are few items to pick up, Austin said.

“We do have a system in place to help transition the city over,” he said. “We’re committed to make it work in your city, and we believe your people will really love it, but it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to.”

A second amendment to the contract would increase the frequency of downtown trash pickup to twice per week rather than once per week.

John’s Disposal also is asking for a 9.9% rate increase in solid waste fees, which is necessary to offset rising recycling costs, Austin said. He explained that China, which had previously taken 60 to 80 percent of all of the world’s recyclables, had stopped accepting nearly all recycling imports in 2018.

“This is not a John’s Disposal problem, this is not a Wisconsin problem or an America problem, this is a worldwide issue,” he said.

John’s Disposal held off on increasing rates last year but is no longer able to avoid it, he said.

Public works director Brett Hebert said most other municipalities in the area are increasing their garbage disposal rates next year in response to the recycling market.

The council also authorized the city’s finance department to create a special revenue fund in preparation for rising recycling costs. The fund, effective Jan. 1, 2020, will be legally restricted to refuse and recycling service expenditures.