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Landlords remain unhappy with revised trash fee

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – A group representing landlords in St. Louis says it still has questions about a new trash collection fee the city needs to balance its budget.

The Ways and Means committee approved the fee increase Thursday morning. City officials need the revenue to balance the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st, so the trash bill has to be signed by the end of the month.

The president of the St. Louis Investment Property Association, Bryan Young, said members are glad aldermen addressed concerns about rental properties that are vacant for extended periods and therefore not generating much trash.

But Young said lawmakers do not seem to understand the financial burden the new fee could put on some property owners. If the measure passes, customers will pay $11 per month for trash and recycling service. That fee applies to all units in a rental building.

"More and more property owners are seeing their properties go vacant, more and more people are having to improve the properties and even sometimes drop the rents just to get something rented or keep it rented, and the combination of those two things makes it impossible for us to pass on," Young said. He was also concerned that the measure violates the taxpayer protection measure known as the Hancock Amendment, because tax rates are not going down by the size of the fee increase.

The fee will mark the first time residents pay for trash service separately, but also be the first time all residents will receive recycling services.

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