Geneseo’s garbage rates are set to increase from $12.95 a month to $14.95 on March 1.

Geneseo’s garbage rates are set to increase from $12.95 a month to $14.95 on March 1.

The change is part of a new five-year contract between the city and Republic Services.

Though the new rate will continue to include garbage and recycling pick-up, residents will have to pay separately for yard waste services. Under the old contract, yard waste was included.

Earlier, Republic officials told the city Geneseo residents “receive the lowest rate for an extremely high level of service.”

When the original five-year contract was negotiated, it was the first such contract the City of Geneseo had ever had.

As a result, no data existed on the tonnage of garbage, recycling or yard waste that Republic could expect to collect from the community.

Five years later, Republic now has that data.

“They say our yard waste is a major issue. More so than in other communities,” City Administrator Lisa Kotter previously explained. “We’re the only community to offer unlimited yard waste.

“We will be meeting with Republic in the next few weeks to discuss the new yard waste program and the educational program that will be going out to our residents,” she said.

The $14.95 charge will be locked in for the next five years, said city officials.

The fee will cover additional expenses including fall and spring clean up, an electronic waste recycling day and operation of the city burn pile.

Kotter said she anticipates city expenses for the burn pile to increase as residents look to avoid a potential $3-a-bag leaf collection fee.

“Do you want us to pick up your leaves for a fee? Or do you want to drive it to the burn pile for free? I think people are going to go to the burn pile,” she said.

City public works director Chad VanDeWoestyne said upwards of 100 individuals have used the burn pile on Saturday mornings when it’s open, and officials expect that number to climb.

“I think we’re going to see a change in behavior among the citizens,” said Kotter.

Alderman Brenda Johnson said she’d like the city to start preliminary investigations into the lease or purchase of a leaf vacuum truck similar to what’s used in other communities.