Lawrence council OKs trash fee increase


City of Lawrence waste removal rates will increase effective July 2 following a June 26 vote by the Lawrence Common Council. 

The council unanimously approved an ordinance adjusting rates to match the city’s costs associated with a new contract negotiated in 2023 with Priority Waste. The ordinance calls for a monthly trash and recycling collection fee of $17.50 per household with a senior discount of $5 per month for residents 65 or older. Rates will increase by 60 cents each January. 

The rates had been $15 per residence with a senior rate of $9 per month. 

The ordinance also sets a new fee of $4 per month for additional trash or recycling containers — an increase from the current rate of $1.25 per month — $2 apiece for overage tags for items that don’t fit into a container and $60 for replacement containers. 

Lawrence Deputy Chief of Staff LeAndre Level told council members that the previous administration opted to not ask the council for a rate increase when the contract was negotiated, leaving that for Mayor Deb Whitfield’s administration. 

He said that without adjusting rates, the city would continue to face an approximately $12,000 monthly deficit, totaling nearly $150,000 annually. 

Councilor Tyrrell Giles (D-District 1) expressed frustration, noting that the council had no input when the new contract was negotiated. 

“I’m talking to the people watching me on TV — I want them to know and be clear, and for all the citizens — this is something that was hung on our head by the prior administration,” he said. “The councilors that are on there had no input, no discussion. I learned about (Priority) becoming our provider in the (Lawrence Lift newsletter) like everyone else, but I’m the one that’s got to have my name on this bill to raise their rates.”

The five-year contract with Priority was approved by the Lawrence Board of Public Works in October 2023. The city’s previous contract with Republic Services expired in December 2023. 

The next Lawrence Common Council meeting is 6:30 p.m. July 1 Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St. It will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page,