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Garbage Subsidy Trashed After Narrow Vote

Residents will pay $6.50 more per month for garbage pickup starting in July

Avon Lake residents can expect after narrowly passed a motion that rescinded an old law requiring the city to subsidize residents’ trash fees.

Three councilman, Dan Bucci, Larry Meiners and Rob James voted against 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 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

Do you support the support paying more for trash pickup if it means improving the city’s financial situation? Take our poll below.

Rob Berner April 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Why doesn't anyone report the reason the city was subsidizing the trash collection fee in the first place. It is because the city increased the income tax and said "if the voters vote to increase the income tax then they would subsidize trash collections." Well, now the subsidy is going away and the tax rate is staying in place. This feels like a tax increase to me.
Jason April 04, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I feel that we should pay our own fee to remove our garbage. After all it is my trash not the cities.
Jason April 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM
"city's"
N.P. April 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM
So does this mean that since people will be paying 100% for trash removal(which is fine with me), they are not in anyway tied to any rules on when or what they put out in the trash by the city since they say they want out of the trash business altogether? Can the city still say what you can and can't do in regards to trash?(I ask because i am not sure what they can and can't tell us what to do currently). If so, just wait until you see your neighbors put out trash on friday for example when the pickup is monday so you get to see that all weekend unless you live where there is an association in a housing development as they have rules against that for the most part...This should be fun!
TK April 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Didn't the city used to provide trash pick up with our tax dollars...then they contracted BFI, did our tax dollars go down? Then we started paying part of the pick up fee, did our tax dollars go down? Now we will be footing the whole bill, did our taxes go down and I miss it???
Dave April 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM
you are correct sir! And the levy, this will help people vote for a levy?
Dave April 04, 2012 at 08:05 PM
AND next will be a more limited amount that they will pick up each week.
Steve83 April 05, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Admittedly - $6.50 a month is really not that much for most people - eat 1 less McDonalds meal a month, a couple less Starbucks, one less pack of cigarettes, etc. I do understand the stretch this does put on fixed income residents though. Since the container pickup that is being used in the SE partion of the city is cheaper to run (1 less person on each truck) I would expect a reduction in rate when we are forced to go to containers citywide?? Oh, wait - next Republic will be saying they re losing money in the part of the city that does not use containers. Maybe we should have a choice in refuse collectors like other cities where the residents pay the full cost - competition can be a good thing.
Zave Dupan April 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Tell you again why we didnt elect berner as mayor? For starters because 7177 voters said he did a bad job the first time. The reason the city subsidized trash collection in the past has no bearing on the current issue. The money is no longer there for such a program. Your governor balanced the state budget by creating a shortfall in the each city's local budget. The city is simply passing kasich's mistake onto us. The funny thing is that rob berner supported kasich when he cut state funding to cities, but does not support when the city does the same thing. That is exactly why he is not the mayor. I call it republican tea party conservative double talk jibber jabber. Rob you wanted government out of your constitutional business and you got it. Now call BFI and tell them you need to contract with them as an american free of government tyranny. Tell zupan and the other false patriots i said hello at your next clan meeting
Bill Conners June 28, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Wow I was just hit by sticker shock! From 35 to $67! June was a weird bill for 11.67 then the 55.89, was anyone else hose by republic on this? just what was that $11 charge for in June if the additional money I am paying covered the previous quarter.
David Dibbell August 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM
The $11.67 was an intermediate bill that was issued to adjust the billing cycle to a different date (i.e. different part of the quarter). We all payed this and nobody got hosed! It was all explained in a letter from Allied Waste to each residence prior to the $11.67 billing. As one of those seniors on fixed income, I applaud the Mayor and Council for getting rid of the trash subsidy. It's silly for the government to be paying to have our trash picked up. It is true that whatever the government subsidizes, it gets more of (eg. trash, extended unemployment, welfare, food stamps, etc.)
Bill Conners August 27, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I never received a letter from either and watch my mail like a hawk. I agree the trash should not be subsidized but again poor execution by either the city or Republic. How much extra did it cost to do an intermediate bill? Good accounting practices would have had it all switch over with one bill instead of an intermediate bill wasting time and money. The public has been hosed over by govt and business more often than we know so it is always good to ask questions. Also what do we have roughly 6700 households? so that $11.67 amounted to over 78k for 1 month? I just like to know where our money goes.

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