By Bill Spinks

Waxahachie residents will soon be seeing significant savings on their trash bills — and a potential refund in water deposits — after action taken during an emergency meeting of the City Council on Thursday.

A COVID-19-related Residential Relief Program was unanimously approved that will reduce the cost of city services. The residential trash service monthly charge of $15.32 (including tax) will be reduced to one cent for three months, which means a $45.89 savings for each of the city's 10,887 residential water customers.

“We are experiencing something that we’ve never been through, and many of our residents are feeling the economic effects,” mayor David Hill said. “We put a plan in place to help our local small businesses, and wanted to also extend the same gesture to our residents.”

Earlier this week, the City Council allocated up to $1 million in stimulus money for short-term, no-interest loans to assist small businesses.

In a memorandum to councilmembers, city manager Michael Scott wrote that the fiscal impact of the solid waste relief program is approximately $166,680 per month.

“If Council adopted a three month reprieve from this expense, the total impact to the City is just over $500,000,” Scott wrote. “Staff recommends this expense be absorbed through the City’s Refuse Fund.”

In addition, late payment fees will be waived and water disconnections for non-payment will be suspended during this time.

Also, many customers in good standing will receive up to $90 of their city water deposits back.

“While staff acknowledges that the sum of these programs is not a tremendous amount of money, we believe it shows the City’s desire to not only help our small businesses, but our citizens directly,” Scott wrote. “Although early projections show a significant decrease will be realized in this year as well as next year’s revenues, no one knows for certain the level of the impact.

“We continue to monitor sales tax and permitting activity and are making operational adjustments accordingly. We recommend the aforementioned program as a gesture of support to our citizenry.”