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October 27, 2009 - 12:45pm

Talk of garbage and how to pay for it continues in city

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, refuse service.

More chatter about trash in council chambers last night.

The city continues to wrestle with garbage. Who should pay for its removal and how much?

City Manager Jason Molino, responding to a council request a few weeks ago, presented a report on what 11 other municipalities do, ranging from no garbage pick up to pay-per-bag formulas.

In the end, the council decided, more or less, to have Molino come back with more information. Molino said staff is working on presenting information on models like the one currently employed in Orleans County (per parcel) and a unit-by-unit fee model.

Council President Charlie Mallow asked what's wrong with the current system. Currently, the cost of garbage collection is wrapped into the city's property-tax rate and accounts for about 7 percent of the bill.

One concern, raised by Councilman Sam Barone and others, is that tax-exempt properties (possibly up to 24 percent of parcels in the city) aren't paying for garbage collection, though they benefit from the service.

"I’d like to expand it. I’d like to see leaves picked up," Mallow said. "It seems like a good service now, I don’t see why you would change it. If anything, I hear from elderly people who can’t get rid of their leaves and twigs now. They don’t have a car and have no way to get rid of it."

Mallow also pointed out that by including garbage collection as part of property taxes, the money can be deducted from the homeowner's Federal incomes taxes. Going to a fee-based system would end the tax deduction.

Councilwoman Marriane Clattenburg said she thought the payment method currently in use is fine, but asked Molino to look further into the new system in Auburn. It's like Batavia's, but that city recently added an opt-out/fee system for tax-exempt properties. In Auburn, nonprofits can opt-out of the service, but if they continue to use it, they must pay for it.

She said she was concerned about changes that might lead to higher garbage costs for lower-income families.

“It’s not just the $200,000 house, you also have to think about the million-dollar piece of property," Clattenburg said. "Now you cut their taxes 7 percent, where do you distribute that cost to? Back to the person that’s living in $50,000 house. So to me, that’s the problem with this kind of thing and that’s what I’d be looking at – how that adjusts and how it makes everyone’s cost go up.”

Molino will report back to the council with a narrowed list of alternatives at a future council meeting.

Peter O'Brien
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Take bids to have the area serviced by a local company, just like with the Ambulance. Then that company and charge its customers. Base the decision on cash to the city and average price of pickup per customer.
tim raines
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Talk, Talk, Talk. The City Council has been talking about garbage collection for over 20 yrs! Maybe you should talk about why ARC charges 40% more for garbage collection than the citizens of Batavia should be paying. As much as 24% of the properties in Batavia don't pay property taxes......what a way to run a city! The city council should be ashamed of themselves. Talk, Talk, Talk. maybe some day you'll get it right....
Howard B. Owens
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Peter, ARC has the contract for life. That ain't changing. Tim, Batavia's garbage fees are significantly lower than many (all?) other cities of similar size in New York.
tim raines
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Contract for life? Who the hell makes a dumb decision to agree to that? I guess ARC can just keep ripping of the citizens of Batavia forever. Batavia's garbage fees are significantly less?.....I pay $11.00 a month for weekly garbage pickup which includes rolling bins and recycle bins. What do you pay?? I bet not one person reading this post knows what they pay for garbage pickup in Batavia.
Charlie Mallow
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City residents pay $70 a year for a $100,000 house.
Mark Potwora
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Why should those that live in a lesser value house have their trash hauled away cheaper...Why should Batavia run a jobs program for ARC..If anything taxes should be based on income..There are those who's house have gone up in value but there income hasn't..
tim raines
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According to the Batavia Daily News...a resident in a 100k home pays $101 yr for trash pickup, not $70.
John Roach
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Tim, Then you still pay more. At $11/mon x 12 = $132.00. However, it is not fair to base something like trask pickup on the value of your home. It is also not fair to ask anyone to pay for the trash pickup of non profits. Ciyt Council was given a lot of examples on how other places do it. Some are better, some are not. But it is worth looking into. This time, we might even get reform.
Chelsea O'Brien
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Ok, so between $101 and $70. Small discrepancy. Plus $5 a recyclable bin and whatever it costs for a garbage tote. We've already had to replace ours once in our YEAR of living here. My parents have been with suburban disposal for over 10 years, have 2 recyclable bins and a great tote. Never had to replace either one. During windy and/or wintery days, we've had to go down quite a ways to rescue our garbage tote. It gets thrown to the side of the road, with the lid separate from it, and then it gets damaged by traffic. It doesn't get put back together or even the lid put in it, it doesn't get tossed toward the house away from traffic. Nothing. Also, is there a brush pick up day soon? A bunch of people have leaves near the street...
Peter O'Brien
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Howard, Then the government needs to do something to allow me to put out as much trash as I'd like and do something about the restrictive recycling policies. No to mention there should be a take away service for yard waste. Especially yard waste I don't create. My garbage can should be any size I want as well. Then after thats done, the contract should be up for bidding anyways.
John Roach
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If you use a private disposal service, a per bag or a sticker system, who cares what you do. You’re personally paying for it. But if it comes out of our taxes, based on the value of a home, then we do have a right to tell you what, how much and when, you get pickup service.
Bryant Tyson
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Please go to a free market system and let us contract are own trash pick up with who we want. As a home owner in the city I would much rather pay $150. a year than $70. I know this may sound crazy but. I have worked in this field befor and know the advantages that we in Batavia are missing out on. No more paying extra for large items chairs, washers, ect. They supply the cans and will even go to the home to pick up for people who can't bring it to the street no extra cost. No bag limits you can hall out your whole house pile it 6 foot high at the curb and they will pick it up no extra cost. If you put something in the recycle box that shoudn't be there they take it. No note with it dumped back on your lawn. How about a opt-out for the home owners?
Peter O'Brien
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I currently have about 20 bags of trash at my house I can't get rid of because of the restriction John. It will take me 5 weeks at 4 bags a week on top of my garbage can for the weekly trash to get rid of. That is bullshit.
Howard B. Owens
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What Bryant said makes a lot of sense. Though I guess not possible, as to how I've had the ARC contract explained to me (I'd like to read it some time). Also, Tim, the Council President says $70 for $100K house. The Daily News says $101. Who you gonna believe? Also, City Manager Jason Molino also said the rate is 7 percent, which would make it $70.
tim raines
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Exactly as I have it Bryant....and it works perfectly. I believe that the trash rate in Batavia is $10.18 per $1000 assessed home value. The city council president also thought that 400 Towers pays property taxes. And, again, as much as 24% of property in Batavia generates 0 taxes. That's BAD government!
Howard B. Owens
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I should add, according to Molino's report, Dunkirk pays $140 per month; Elmira, $180; Orleans, $159.20.
John Roach
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Peter, That's why we need a change. I like Bryant's idea and so should you.
Peter O'Brien
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7% of $100,000 is not $70 it is $7,000 I do as well John, thats what I have been trying to advocate for.
tim raines
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I think howard mistyped..he meant per year.
Bea McManis
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Tim: This is the letter that was sent to the Daily News regarding 400 Towers and what they pay in PILOT. Editor: The front page of your Oct. 8 edition featured a photo of the trash awaiting pickup at 400 East Main St. (known as 400 Towers) along with a caption that stated that this apartment complex pays no taxes ("Councilman pushes trash/recycling plan he says will be fairer for all residents," Oct. 8). The accompanying article made the case for a more fair way to allocate the cost of trash pickup. The property in question is owned and operated by the City of Batavia Housing Authority (BHA). As a public benefit not-for-profit corporation, we cannot pay taxes. However, the implication that we do not pay our fair share toward the cost of trash pickup and other governmental services is simply not true. In fact, the BHA pays $45,848 per year in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the City of Batavia, Genesee County and school district each year. We pay this significant amount in spite of serving very low-income residents, for whom assessing an extra fee for trash removal would be a real hardship. Because of our effective recycling and trash compacting program, we only generate about 30 bags of trash each week for the 147 residents we serve at 400 Towers -- far less than the five bags per household which is currently allowed. Surely, the PILOT we pay each year for government services should include the cost of trash pickup in our case. Gregory Langen Executive Director City of Batavia Housing Authority
tim raines
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$45,848 is peanuts! Another excellent reason why Batavia doesn't have money.
Bea McManis
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147 apartments x 5 bags per apartment (the limit allowed in the city) is 735 bags of trash that could legally be placed on the curb. 400 Towers averages about 30 a week. The point is, Tim, that they aren't getting a free ride. Once again, Tim. You have no vested interest in Batavia. As a matter of fact your only interest is to downgrade the city. If this is your form of entertainment, go at it.
Peter O'Brien
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147 apartments * 5 bags in one can * 5 cans = 735 * 5 = 3675 bags. But thats if each apartment was allowed separate collection. I don't know if thats the case.
Mark Potwora
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I don't think you are allowed 5 bags per unit...its for the entire address....So i would think the Towers is putting out to much trash per week...GCASA puts out more than 5 bags a week how many apt are there at that place...Non profits need to start paying for their cost..25% of all property in Batavia not paying taxes is alot..Why does the homeowner bear all these costs..Cut us some slack..
tim raines
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Maybe, by someone sayin somethin, the City of Batavia Government will someday get its collective crap together. Garbage in, garbage out.
Bea McManis
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Mark, if you live in an apartment house (double house) each unit is allowed the 5 bag limit. There is nothing that says you have to coordinate with the person occupying the other unit to find out how many bags they are putting out. You have complained about GACASA, I don't know how many live there, or if each has their own apartment. I also don't know if they pay PILOT. The fact that 400 Towers does contribute to the services it receives. If, in fact, you are right and it should only be 5 bags for the entire facility, then the charge for having trash pick up should be based on that same formula. For example, if the city goes with the Orleans Co. model, then the facility would only pay $159 a year - by your understanding. If the city goes with Orleans Co. model and each apartment is assessed $159. then it will pay $23,373. My understanding is that it is per apartment throughout the city. Quite possibly Charlie or someone at City Hall could clear that up.
George Richardson
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Austin has Dillo Dirt. Batavia could have Muck Dog Dirt. The secret is to compost and recycle organic waste(cringe)even human. It sounds yucky but your non garden plants won't know the difference. It's big money for someone with the space and equipment, like a farmer. Go for it Batavia. Man, I've got all of the good ideas and none of the drive to make it happen.
Mark Potwora
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Ok Bea if what you say is true about an apartment house ,then there lies the problem.The single home taxpayer is having to subsidize the landlords trash cost..If a can't toss out more than 5 bags of trash for my address why should he...If it were up to me i would do what LeRoy does and go to pay per bag...Plain and simple..
Bea McManis
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Mark, I'm sure there is a solution, but please don't demonize the elderly. At one time they owned homes and paid their taxes. I believe there should be a fair way to assess all citizens for trash removal. I don't believe the current system is fair...on that we agree. Maybe per bag is the way to go. You know, when someone in our neighborhood had a lot of trash, for whatever reason (maybe a party), they could split their bags among the neighbors in order to get it all out. The advantage of a close neighborhood. By the way - off topic - but did you see my answer about who built Morgan's monument?
Mark Potwora
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Yes i did,,very interesting..I'm not demonizing the elderly,just want a more fair system,,,,
Chelsea O'Brien
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I actually have a question about composting in the city. I've done some research, and I could probably compost enough where I could use a rubbermaid trash bin in the back yard. Now, I know I need to keep my trash out of public view from the road, does the same go if I utilize a trash can for a compost bin?
Paul Dibble
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Garbage is garbage. Everyone should pay a flat rate INCLUDING non-profits. They have an operating budget that pays for electric,phone,etc. and should'nt be a problem adding a line item for garbage,It's an expense,a business expense. If they're too small or can't afford it, maybe they should take it home and throw it out. As far as leaf/brush pick-up (the seasonal kind,like now) I think the DPW can/should handle that,as they have for the 37 years I've lived here,after all, All the trees along the streets are theirs and if they didnt pick it up, it would clog the storm sewers. As far as grass pick-up-no,that should be up to the home owner. If you can't get to the transfer station just ask the neighbor you know so well. ;)
Darrick Coleman
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I like LeRoy's model. They leave it up to the household. If you want pickup you contact Waste Management and get your own contract. But, they also offer the ability to dump at a central dump spot on Saturdays. The dump spot charges $1.25/bag and free recycling. The charge per bag idea strongly promotes recycling. My 2 person household generally only ends up paying at most 5$ a month for garbage. Sure, it isn't convenient, but it's cheap, and promotes recycling.
Mary Margaret Ripley
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LeRoy's bags are $1.75 ea. I don't mind going to the dump at all. In fact when I lived in the Village I still went to the dump even though there was curbside pick-up. When I had private garbage pick-up in Livonia I paid over $30.00 a month for it!

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