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January 15, 2013 - 12:28am

Proposed budget means big changes in garbage pick up, police department structure

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, budget.

Information courtesy WBTA:

A big change in garbage pick up, a shake up of the police department and a pay raise for council members are the main features of the proposed city budget.

City Manager Jason Molino told council members about the proposed changes in garbage collection, dubbed PAYT for "pay as you throw," which will remove garbage collection from property owners' tax bills and have users of the service foot the bill.

The user fee will extend to nonprofit agencies and churches.

"You pay for what you throw away," Monlino said. "So, if you want a smaller tote or larger tote, you are going to pay respectively. If you throw away more, you are going to pay more. You throw away less, you are going to pay less. Another aspect of the program is unlimited recycling, and that also has the ability to help control your costs of what you throw away."

The automated system -- one-driver trucks will use a mechanical arm to pick up the totes -- will also help reduce costs, Molino said.

The apparent lower bidder for the program is Allied/Republic, a national waste management company headquartered in Phoenix. The company operates in 39 states and has 30,000 employees according to its Web site.

Allied/Republic submitted the lowest of four bids at $4.34-million dollars over the next five years.

Genesee ARC, which had been providing the service to the city for nearly 30 years, bid 4.99-million dollars. It appears ARC's bid was the highest.

ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the loss of the city contract hurts the human services agency:

"I will have to lay off between 8 and 10 people," Saskowski said. "The agency will loose $800,000 in revenue, and we will have to find different jobs for the people with disabilities."

Saskowski said half of the people expected to lose jobs have some form of developmental disability.

The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”

A big change in police department operations will save about $10,000, according to Molino.

Currently, the supervisory structure of the department includes three lieutenants. The lieutenant position will be eliminated, replaced by two police officers, a sergeant and a deputy chief.

The deputy chief position will be non-union.

The current lieutenants, Eugene Jankowski, Jim Henning and Greg Steele, have elected to retire rather than accept a demotion to sergeant, Molino told council members.

As for council members, a raise for the elected officials approved 6-3 in February, will be instituted, increasing compensation from $2,000 per year to $3,500 per year, beginning April 1.

The only way pay raises could be prevented, Molino said, was for the council to vote down the entire budget proposal or opt to pull the pay raise allocation from the budget plan and vote on it separately.

Council members Patti Pacino and Pier Cipollone said on Monday night they would not support a pay raise. Both had supported the pay raise measure in the February vote.

UPDATE: The city has posted all available documents about the changes to garbage collection.

jason reese
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I can save even more money for garbage pick ups, have prisoners pick up the garbage.

Mary E DelPlato
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What kind of kickback is jason getting from this company in phoenix? Just for council to think about this and take jobs away from area citizens is a stab in the backs. For a person who came to be manager and got a higher pay than what he was first offered you are no less than a common thief. Thief...yes... a person who takes things away.

John Roach
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Mary,
Can you back up your claim of a kickback, or are you just running off with the mouth?

As for Jason's idea, sounds good on the face of it, but most people do not want child molesters and thieves going around their neighborhoods. And we would have to hire someone to watch them all.

Not mentioned by WBTA is that property taxes are projected to DROP by a bit over 14%.

Ted Wenzka
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John, DROP 14%. Sorry but I am from Missouri. I have to see it to believe it. You have to remember these are politicians, small city maybe, but they are still politicians. They will say whatever makes things sound good. Take for example the comment of the council person who is against pay raise but votes YES.

dennis wight
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in doing the math, i would save $75 in taxes and spend nearly $200 in garbage pickup on a yearly basis. This makes the city budget look a bit better, but cost to residents are going up...again. I think you are gonna see more garbage dump on the side of back roads. What a bunch of BS. Thanks, Molino, for costing the residents more money...again. I'm still willing to bet we see NO reduction in property taxes...any takers?

John Roach
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Dennis, I will take that bet. How much?

dennis wight
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I'll bet $100, john, that the property taxes don't drop anywhere near the 14% you stated. You wanna hold the money?

John Roach
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Dennis,
Your statement was for "NO" reduction, none at all. I'll take it if you agree at 9%. We will meet and have a mutual agreed to person hold it, ok?

By the way, how much of a property tax cut would make you happy with the budget?

Richard Richmond II
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John, may I get in on that bet? I’m thinking at least an 8% tax savings.

I know you’re serious about your bet with Dennis and are not bluffing should he take you up on it.

Did he get back to you yet?

Richard Richmond II
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I attended the City Council Meeting and listened to the proposal. I have to tell you it was an eye-opener.

The list of tax exempt properties is astounding and the taxpayers...the tax-payer property owners, including Senior citizens on fixed incomes are mandated to pay for the Police and Fire Service for these mentioned TAX EXEMPT properties.

Not only that but the burden is on the property owning tax payers to provide free trash pick-up for these mentioned TAX EXEMPT PROPERTIES.

Under Jason’s proposal everyone will be paying their fair share; I repeat everyone will be paying their fair share; including the mentioned TAX EXEMPT PROPERTIES.

The totes come in three sizes. There will be a covered tote for trash. There will be a covered tote for recyclables.

The Property owner will select the size appropriate for the number of occupants residing there.

The totes come in three sizes. They are serial numbered and registered to the specific property. They have a tracking chip to prevent theft and eliminate use at another location.

The cost of garbage removal is contingent upon the size of tote that one chooses; less garbage less cost; fair and equitable.

Under the current system, the taxpayer property owner pays the same amount regardless if he or she puts out one bag or five.

Is this fair? Is this equitable? Under Jason’s proposal everyone will pay their fair share.

Let us stop the name calling and/or innuendos-“Kick backs”.

Let’s take the politics and special interest groups out of the equation.

Let’s take the garbage talk out of our trash and recycle polite discourse to allow everyone to pay their fair share.

Mary E DelPlato
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Let's keep jobs here for the honest working citizens...no I can't back that up...do you think id make it public if I was getting a kickback...this stinks..period

Mary E DelPlato
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Here is the eyeopener....8 fine honest hardworking residents will lose their positions...doesn't that mean anything?????

Cheryl Wilmet
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Has anyone learned what the cost of the totes are? Unless I am wrong in the way I interpreted this statement "The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”." Also there will be a cost to support the employees who will lose their jobs at ARC plus what will the cost increase to when the original contract with Allied/Republic ends? Anyone who has a family already has been overwelmed by the extremely high prices for food, gas, etc. and now they will have to decide what they have to cut back on to pay this garbage fee so if I am right about that statement, then everyone's cost goes up whether you are a homeowner, tenant or landlord. No landlord is going to lower his rent so a tenant can afford to dispose of trash. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

Jeremy Yasses
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I am wondering if we have to participate in the garbage pickup? Owning multiple dwellings, if the totes "disappear", how many times do I have to buy them? Can I just purchase a same size garbage can which will be much cheaper?

Mary - Unfortunately people are losing jobs everyday but it is not society that must pay to keep them employed. This is a business decision, unfortunately to many people don't look at it that way. If you are that passionate about keeping them employed, start a small business and hire them. It is real easy and very profitable, just ask anyone who doesn't own one (small business)!

Linda Knox
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Regarding unlimited recycling - nothing has been mentioned about those "larger" items we currently must purchase stickers from the city for in order to place at the curb. If the city residents will still be required to sticker items, that's a continued additional cost. Have provisions been made in consideration of this? All the discussion focuses on bagged garbage and the usual metal, glass, plastics, etc. recycleables.

Kyle Couchman
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Cheryl I can tell you what some landlords are gonna end up doing. They will end up placing small dumpsters on properties and have private contractors take care of their stuff. What I am interested in is what the city is gonna do when some people out of ignorance or just plain stubborness still put bags out. Are they gonna just let them sit there? What is gonna be the process for tickets and disposal? Fines structure? Even now I know of some properties that have that "Trashy" look because they barely complied with current trash regs. This change is gonna effect all of us.

When I left Ithaca the trash issue was a major concern. Fine structure was $75 first offense, $150 for second offense within that year and finally $300 for every violation thereafter for the rest of that year. You could go to court to answer or dispute the ticket but all that usually did was tie up the court. Just that aspect alone makes me wonder why go this route.... the cons seem to outweigh the prod and those property owners that pushed the city to this are gonna regret what its gonna end up costing them in the long run.

I believe that the city is happy to give us the 14% reduction, that will be more than made up in fines and court fees that you will pay. And if it doesnt then just the stroke of a pen will make increases back to what they were before the change, to fund more raises I'm sure.

Kyle Couchman
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Really Jeremy so I guess its ok for the council to vote themselves raises while the disabled become unemployed by virtue of their decisions. Nothing like knocking down the disabled who will end up getting county support (not that they arent entitled and deserving) and lose the feeling of self worth from loss of gainful employment. Doesnt seem like a good trade off to me as the costs that a few property owners think they are saving end up costing them much much more in the long run.

Ted Wenzka
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So I am going to have 2 of these totes sitting next to my house. One for garbage and one for recyclables. I hope I can paint them to match the color of my house. This will help to hide them. Is our great council members going to have them viewable so I can figure out what size I need. What happens if I have a party and exceed the volume of my tote. Am I going to get fined for leaving garbage along side the tote?
Just more BIG BROTHER telling us how to behave.

John Roach
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Kyle,
Too bad that as usual, most people did not attend the meeting.

I have nothing for or against ARC. But it is not the responsibility of the City to tax people to help pay and employ other people who are not City employees. Many of the taxpayers themselves are unemployed. The ones still working just had their paychecks cut 2% by Washington and need a break.

How many times have we seen here that people want the City budget cut and property tax rates dropped? Council told the manager to find ways to do that and he did, despite the fact that state mandated retirement fees go way up and health care cost ballooned.

True, Council might add something to the proposed budget cutting the 14.58% tax cut down a bit. But probably not more than 1 or 2%. They might even make more cuts, who knows?

But what percentage tax cut will make you happy?

Shannon Laurer
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Will the residents have the option to use another garbage disposal company or are they required to use the one the city picks? I know if most people have to pay for a service they tend to want to chose the one right for them and their wallet!

John Roach
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One interesting number given out at the meeting was that there are approximately 331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes. That number includes government buildings like the fire station, the court building , post office and the like, but still, that number is large.

Mary E DelPlato
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Seeing my dollars are going into this "business" I have a say n which employees I wish to keep aboard. I know what its like to lose your job. You serve your community then bam...its all gone...its a low blow...these guys don't deserve this....there are other ways of cutting costs...ie: the fat on the top

Cheryl Wilmet
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I agree with John Roach as it seems like a large amount (331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes). I would love to see that list. When Howard comes back maybe he can obtain that list.

Ted Wenzka
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Interesting statement - "One interesting number given out at the meeting was that there are approximately 331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes. That number includes government buildings like the fire station, the court building , post office and the like". Can someone explain why they don't pay taxes. They receive services that we common folk have to pay for.

Kyle Couchman
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LOL John you have no idea of what Large is..... Coming from Ithaca, the city has 70% of its properties listed as tax exempt.... The downside of having Cornell University and Ithaca College as well as the average tax exempt properties. So 30% of the property supports 100% of the city. Cornell University alone generated 5 billion dollars in cashflow of their own the year before I left, and though they drain the police, fire and trash as well as other utilitiy and city services, they begrudingly agreed to a pilot of only 1 million to the city for this. If they paid 1/4 in taxes on their properties they would be paying 10x that amount.

As Mary pointed out, our dollars pay their salaries so the city should at least attempt to do what the public seems to want. As for the decsions and resident participation do you think if a petition was turned in, with everyone in the city signing it saying that ARC should stay the provider that things would have been any different? How about the same for pay raises? Once in those chair most view themselves as "The Boss" and only before elections do they begin to care what our opinions are. Yes your right more people should attend and say something but it's still not right. If everyone sees a bank robbery and doesnt call the police. Does that make the bank robbers right or justified in their actions? I dont think so

John Roach
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Another point missed is that many businesses in the City use a dumpster service, like restaurants and convenience stores and they do not use ARC now.

They also currently have to pay to have your garbage bags picked up as part of their property taxes. That will stop, helping our local businesses at least a little money. What's wrong with that?

John Roach
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Kyle,
Even if ARC had not been the highest bidder and was picked, the service and fee structure is still being changed. And while many want ARC to still have this job, I have not seen where many want to pay more money than needed and so far none have said they do not want a property tax cut.

There are a lot of unemployed people having to pay property taxes and those that are still working just had their pay checks cut 2%. Some where, some place, they deserve a break.

Kyle Couchman
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5,224 is the approx amount of tax parcels in the city of batavia.... so 331 doesnt seem that as large a number as everyone makes it out to be, about 6.3% of the tax parcels in the city of batavia..... not really that big is it.

Kyle Couchman
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But John even in the city managers words.....its not a break its a wash......even steven on the surface. The additional costs just dawning on people will come quick and then it wont be so great

Howard B. Owens
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Last week while hauling out my garbage in the cold and ice, I thought, "geez, I can't wait to have just two totes on wheels."

As I've said before, I've lived where totes are used. I much, much prefer that system to the can/bag system with these tiny, tiny blue recycling buckets.

The city is going to a system that is almost universal throughout the country now. If it works in so many other places, there's no reason to believe it won't work here.

I'm rooting for ARC. According to the figures provided to us for this story, there is a mere $650,000 spread out over five years separating ARC from the low bidder. Some weight should be given, I think, to all ARC does for the community.

Lori Silvernail
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There is no "wash" to this change. Now we will continue to have to buy garbage bags, PLUS pay for these ridiculous totes. Anyone who thinks those totes don't stink if your garbage isn't in bags, has never been downwind of them. And let's see how many of my lovely neighbors will shove their stuff into someone else's tote because they'll buy the smallest one. And what will all of us do with our current trash cans? They'll fill up a tote all by themselves if we try to chop them up and throw them away. Buying bags from the city and keeping the Arc as it is would have been a far better alternative. How I wish I could move out of Batavia...the day can't come soon enough for me.

Mark Potwora
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This program is a fair system..I totally agree with making all those that use the program pay for the program..Seems like the only ones it won't be a wash for is non profits and all those two and three family homes will now get charged separately for trash.I see alot of rent increases coming. We are getting a tax rate reduction of 14%.Home come when we took the ambulance program out of the budget we didnt get the same savings....I do believe they can lower that rate more...Having these totes will also keep animals from getting into the trash and making a mess..I have to give a thumbs up to the city for trying to control the tax rate....

Howard B. Owens
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Everything you might want to know about the new program can be found here: http://www.batavianewyork.com/httpwww.batavianewyork.comrefuserecycling_...

John Roach
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It's amazing how many people here think that things that work all over the area can't work here. The hint that people in Batavia are dumb, lazy or criminal.

I will probably be one of the ones who break even on this. But this new garbage system is fair and equitable. And the rate, no matter if it's ARC or another, will be stable for 5 years and not tied to how much your property is taxed at.

And if the New York State had not forced Batavia to increase our pension contribution and had health care cost had stayed even or gone down as promised by Obama, our taxes might have gone down another 2%.

Mary E DelPlato
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My uncle Louie is rolling in his grave right now

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Your Uncle Louie was a great man.If it were not for him my daughter would not have had a grave stone.Many of the old Italians who started ARC would not have approved.But they were from here weren't they?

daniel cherry
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I feel so bad for the people from ARC losing their jobs.Outsourcing isn't that what this is?How does this help our community?These people have done a tremendous job all these years.I personally know many of them.They do not deserve this.

How do we know that Allied/Republic will do a good job?Does this mean our rent will go down from 925$?We have done our best to recycle everything we can.Now we have to pay to recycle?What will allied /republic do with the trash?Will it end up floating in the ocean?How much more would it cost the average house hold to keep the ARC on?Since this is supposed to be a democratic society why couldn't we have voted on this?

I do not think these cuts are in the best interest of this community.

david spaulding
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hey what about the pay raise? went up almost 100%....damn,i am jealous,wish i could give myself a raise.only raise i'll get is out the door....i propose we make a law that says everyone can vote themslves a raise...governor may i ? oh he's busy making us safe from guns,

david spaulding
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hot topic...love it.....answer me this? how much money will it cost to have my garbage picked up?let's say i use the largest tote.let me have that answer in a monthly payment...anyone have that figure?

John Roach
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David,
If you were working in 1994, what was your yearly pay? Has your pay gone up since then?

Council pay has not really changed since 1994, so for the first time in 19 YEARS, it will go up. When you consider the time each Council member spends on city related matters, the new pay rate comes out to about $3.30 per hour.

They will now earn a whole $67.30 per week. If they stay in office for 20 years, they will earn a retirement of $1,750 a year or $33 a week, at age 62 or 65, depending on when they started. I am sure you will jump on that windfall and run this November for Council.

John Roach
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David,
The cost if Allied gets the contract would be $16.50 for the largest.
The cost if ARC gets the contract would be $18.58

But for the smallest:
Allied $14.08
ARC $18.58

david spaulding
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thank you john for those figures...
i live in genesee co.outside of the city,my trash collection bill (large tote included) is 37.50 dollars a month.as far as i know,there is no option for smaller tote.as empty nesters we usually have two grocery bags of trash.i think the tote is heavier than my garbage...
i share this so you have a perspective as to what others outside of city limits are paying.

Richard Richmond II
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John, a clarification; is it true that regardless who gets the contract the totes will be used included?

The trucks are automated, correct; one truck and one driver?

Ted Wenzka
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John,
You show yourself to be a true politician. To me, the council position was never intended to the only job for the person. A responsible person has a full-time job and being on the council is their way to better the city. My thoughts are if the person does not like the hours/pay then don't run for the position. They should not expect to receive a retirement from being on the council. The person gets their retirement from their full-time position. Thoughts like yours are the reason this country is in the fix it is now in. We do not need professional politicians.

Jason Crater
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Ted, in what alternate dimension do you live on where someone can retire on $33/week?

None of the council people are full time politicians...and they're not paid like they are.

Robert Brown
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Right on Ted! There should be ZERO retirement benefits for council members. Quite frankly, that policy should be law and should be extended to ALL elected officials. Not a single elected official should retire on the public's dime...EVER!

Jim Rosenbeck
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Howard, when I saw your post about how much you want two totes on wheels, I immediately thought, " wouldn't it be nice if Howard could buy what he wanted on the free market where competition insures the lowest price?" Instead you must by the product that the city offers at the price they establish. Oh yes and let's not forget that now we need tracking chips in our refuse containers to protect the city's investment. Guess what, the price of that garbage receptacle just went way up. The free market will always be a better provider of services than the government. We have yet to see what unanticipated expenses this new business venture by the city might provide us. I find it hard to believe that this wont become an administrative nightmare. Distribution of the city's new product line, policing of the new policy, billing, collections, accounting. I wonder who at city hall is waiting to take over these duties? Sad, sad misguided decision.

John Roach
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Ted,
The point is that after 19 years, the pay rate going up is justified, and fair compensation. And none of the Council members have this as their full time job. At a current rate of $2,000 per year, that should have been clear.

As a point of clarification, the retirement pay is not something the City came up with. All legislators, County, Town, Village, etc. are under the State retirement system. And I was wrong when I said it took 20 years to get the half pay of $1,750, it is 25 years.

Mary E DelPlato
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I'm not gonna buy a tote...will I get fined???yet another source of revenue...id rather see my money go to good use and that's making sure 8 guys have a life....because for some this is their life..give ypurself another raise molino...you deserve it doncha

Michael Pullinzi
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A few problems not noted. Those 331 properties not paying for trash collection.... they are Government buildings, Fire Dept., Not-for-profit Community Services, etc. Almost all are tax payer funded organizations. If their costs go up, our costs as taxpayers go up so that does not save anyone a penny and is passed on in higher property taxes. So the "wash" for changing to the new system now in reality will cost us all much more. Additionally, sending out thousands of trash bills will pretty much counteract any increased recycling efforts as we will now have monthly billings to deal with instead of annual costs in our property taxes. Another thing for anyone that itemizes on their taxes, you will no longer have the benefit of your trash costs to itemize in your propety taxes that use to be tax deductible so that will cost you another minimum 23% (dependant on your tax rate) additionally for the same trash disposal you are getting now that is tax deductible. Clearly there are no real savings or benefits to this plan and the City will likely get a windfall the first year as the timing of the new fees will not likely coincide with reported property tax changes if we ever indeed see them at all. The additional problems of storing totes, elderly moving totes in winter or even good weather, etc. just makes this trash deal stink even more. I hope this whole mess ends up being the final straw that breaks the camel's back in the City of Batavia to motivate others to run for City Council so we can finally get some with real sensibilities on Council to get this City back on track. The Town is doing great and the City has one bad idea after another. Bad Leadership = bad government.

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