Vail Honeywagon increases cost of service for first time in six years
EAGLE COUNTY — Vail Honeywagon, following a merger with MRI on July 1, has raised its pricing for service for the first time since 2009.
“We fully understand that we’re a utility, and that as a utility we need to keep our rates as low as possible, and we’ve done that for the last 40 years, and we still feel we are there,” said Matt Donovan, of Vail Honeywagon.
Rates for trash and recycling collection are also being combined. Increased costs of recycling, health insurance, equipment and other components of the business must be addressed, Donovan said.
For many years, the trash service was gaining profitability through route density as the valley was growing, Donovan said, but valley growth has tapered off, “and so our expenses are catching up with us that we used to be able to cover up with route density,” he said. Vail Honeywagon has historically had conservative rate increases.
Collecting recyclables and the associated expense to transport to Denver is an expense the company must recognize, as recyclable prices are based on global commodity factors and have been adversily effected by the “Green Fence” policy of China, Donovan said. The good news, he said, is that customers are recycling a lot more in recent years with their single-stream collection service.
For Jasmine Paula and her small family living in Gypsum, the trash service increase is yet another hardship of living in Eagle County. Her service went from $75 per quarter to $115 “without any kind of warning,” she said.
Paula’s options are limited, as the town of Gypsum does not provide trash service to her home. She said after Vail Honeywagon rates increased, she looked at Waste Management, another trash service, and its price was about $185 per quarter, she said.
In an attempt to save, Paula is canceling her trash service and will begin sharing with her neighbors.
“It’s not ideal, but then again, we’re a small family,” she said.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost for trash removal in the United States in 2016 is about $140 to $250 annually.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.
Tourism and outdoor recreation employ a lot of people, but those workers’ wages are below county and regional averages.