When Utica residents have to pay more for garbage bags and trash collection services starting April 1, it will not be part of an April Fool's joke.

The Utica Common Council voted during a special meeting Monday to approve increases to citywide solid waste user fees and the cost of the city's blue garbage bags.

Depending on the type of property, annual solid waste service charges will go up anywhere from $7 to $21 per year. Garbage bag costs, meanwhile, will increase by 15 cents starting April 1 and by another 15 cents starting April 1, 2019.

The Oneida-Herkimer County Solid Waste Authority administers trash collection services for the city of Utica. Executive Director William Rabbia said the last time service fees were amended was 2004.

"We had no choice at this point," Rabbia said. "The value that the city residents get, compared to collection costs in many other regions — they still get a heck of a value for the price. I know nobody wants increases."

The increased fees are related to a new trash collection contract between the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority and a trash collection contractor.

The new contract — like the current one set to expire March 31 — will run for five years. Rabbia said the authority received four bids for collection services; based on the pricing, the collection costs needed to increase as expenses like prevailing wage, equipment and fuel have all gone up in the last five years.

Rabbia said the fee increases were not needed earlier because the authority consistently lowered its tipping fees, or the charge for disposal of non-recyclable waste. Rabbia said tipping fees have gone down 28 percent since 2010, with reductions in the last five out of six years.

"We finally got to the point where we needed to adjust the rates to make up for the additional collection cost," he said.

The Common Council unanimously approved Monday's ordinance to amend the charges within the City Code. Councilman David Testa, D-2, was absent from the meeting.

Councilman Mark Williamson said the timing of the fee increase is unfortunate, particularly in light of the recent increase to water rates for Utica-area users and the mayor's proposed 7.8 percent tax increase in the coming fiscal year's budget.

"It's just part of economics," said Councilman Mark Williamson, R-at-large. "Things go up in price. Nothing we can do about it; it’s just dumping fees and things come into play. We asked the same question, but the bags haven’t moved up since 2004. We’ve actually done pretty good, with 14 years without an increase.”

Contact reporter Greg Mason at 315-792-5074 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Mason).