Garbage Subsidy Trashed After Narrow Vote
Residents will pay $6.50 more per month for garbage pickup starting in July
Three councilman, Dan Bucci, Larry Meiners and Rob James voted against rescinding the subsidy, which amounts to $6.50 per month. Council members Jennifer Fenderbosch, David Kos, Marty O'Donnell and John Shondel supported the motion.
The city has been paying a portion of residents' trash bills since 1991.
The increase goes into effect July 1 and will save the city approximately $350,000 in 2012 and $700,000 in 2013.
Bucci said he was not comfortable with utility fees increasing with a paramedic levy expected and a possible school levy down the road.
Meiners said he was against the proposal “since day 1” and argued against Councilman David Kos’ statement that the city was “getting out of the trash business.”
“That’s not true,” Meiners said, noting that some qualifying families who can’t afford the increase will receive city funds by way of Community Resource Services. “I have a hard time having this huge tax burden placed on the hard-working families of Avon Lake. I’m really uncomfortable with this.”
Mayor Greg Zilka and Council President Martin O’Donnell said eliminating the subsidy was imperative to the city’s financial health.
O’Donnell laid out a list of reasons why the cost increase was necessary including the city's need to spend millions of dollars for sewer separation projects required by the EPA by 2020. Zilka said that keeping the subsidy in place would result in layoffs and a reduction of city services.
“This isn’t a tax; we’re asking people to pay the full cost of their services,” Zilka said. “We’re going to start talking layoffs at the end of this year (if the subsidy remains in place). Then we will have very serious layoffs next year.
“We’re going have to take very severe action to soften the blow for when we get into 2013.”
Seniors who provide proof of age such as a Golden Buckeye card to Allied Waste will continue to receive the monthly $1.50 discount offered to senior citizens.
Residents who cannot afford the increase are urged to contact Maggie Corcoran at Community Resource Services.
Do you support the support paying more for trash pickup if it means improving the city’s financial situation? Take our poll below.