WARRENTON - The city of Warrenton has outlined proposed ways of generating revenue through its refuse collection rates.

The rate table was recently released as the city continues efforts to breakdown the numbers so local customers can understand the "serious" state of funds like Sanitation.

Losses to the Sanitation Fund were kept under $175,000 last year - an improvement from nearly $250,000 the year before, but still disturbing, said city leaders.

The cost of recycling has skyrocketed from $10,669 in 1998 to about $118,000 this year.

The City Commission has noted that losses created in the Sanitation Fund have been drawing resources that could be provided to other critical needs like additional police officers or replacement of essential or needed equipment. Commissioners have been looking at proposed rates with the hope that the service will become more financially stable so that a longer-term solution can be developed, they said.

For many years, local garbage service made enough money to pay for itself as an enterprise activity. The Sanitation Fund also made "significant" contributions to other city services. In fiscal year 2000, the Building and Repair Fund borrowed $150,000 from the Sanitation Fund. To date, $75, 000 has been re-paid to the Sanitation Fund with full repayment scheduled this coming fiscal year, said City Manager Scott Derickson.

Because the Sanitation Fund has had net operating losses since 1998, all of its cash surpluses have been consumed resulting in a deficit this year; the city has been forced to execute an inter-fund transfer to continue the service and to bail-out any fund, he added.

Local citizens discussed the Sanitation Fund's woes through a Refuse Collection Citizen Advisory Committee. Commissioners earlier in the year authorized a loan from the General Fund to the Sanitation Fund for $ 120,000 to combat its financial difficulties.

The state Legislature also mandated that Warrenton provide curbside recycling. Adding curbside recycling to our refuse service increased the city's cost by $4.60 per account, strictly for recycling, regardless if the customer used the service or not.