City Manager Jason Molino sent a copy of this letter, addressed to Thomas Houseknecht, to members of the local media:
You have asked for responses to your comments over the past several weeks regarding the proposed refuse and recycling program. Attached are my responses to your questions.
I understand your concern over the impact the proposed program may have on the those who can least afford it. While I share the same concern, I disagree with your analysis that lower assessed properties properly represents, or in any form correlates, to those who can least afford it. For example the average assessed single family home in the city is $92,112, while the average assessed two-family home is $76,534 and the average assessed triple-family home is $84,380. According to a recent EPA study, multi-family properties that have more than one household generate 1.5 times or more refuse (depending on the number of units) than a single-family property. In addition, the study states recycling tonnage per household is 65 percent greater for single-family households than for multi-family households. Considering doubles and triples generate from 1.5 to 3 times the amount of garbage as a single-family home, recycle significantly less and the property owners pay less in taxes, the current system is inequitable as we pay for garbage based on the amount of assessed value of our homes with no relationship to how much we throw out, don’t throw out, recycle or don’t recycle.
The proposed refuse fee does not target any one type of resident or property owner; instead it is intended to provide an equitable way to pay for a service based on a rational relationship between the cost of the service and the amount of service each resident uses. Similar to water, sewer, cable, electric, gas, phone and all other utilities, assessed value is not a determinant of the cost of the service, nor does it properly represent the amount of service used by individual property owners or residents. Furthermore assessed value is not a valid method for determining the cost of refuse and recycling collection to residents.
I appreciate your passion for the refuse collection issue in Batavia and in particular for your support of ARC and its endeavors. I welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and my staff to review the numbers and understand how you arrived at some of the assumptions made in your statements to city council. Dialoging with you would certainly help us understand how we might better communicate our intentions and goals for the city as it relates to refuse collection both now and in the future.
UPDATE: I failed to take note of four attachments with Jason Molino's e-mail. Here they are (all links are to PDFs):