Budget committee delays initial vote on trash fee
By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – The committee in charge of the budget for the city of St. Louis has temporarily held off on approving a fee for trash and recycling services.
The city needs the revenue from the proposed $11-a-month fee to balance the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. The Ways and Means committee will wait until Thursday to approve the measure so the proposal can be tweaked to address concerns shared by many aldermen, though that leaves enough time to start collecting the fee on the first day of the 2011 fiscal year.
Antonio French, an aldermen from north St. Louis, summed up the concerns he shared with many fellow Ways and Means members.
"If you have a single family, large home say in the central corridor, they would be paying the flat $132 a year, but then homes in my ward which is made up mostly of two-family flats would be paying double that no matter how much less trash or more trash they generate, or even if both dwellings are occupied at the time," French said.
The city wants to partially base who will pay the fee using water bills. The reasoning, said Barb Geisman, a top aide to Mayor Francis Slay, is that a house or apartment must have water service to be inhabitable. But she acknowledged during the meeting Tuesday that the method may capture unoccupied apartments that are not generating trash.
Aldermen were also concerned that the trash fee would become an easy source for additional revenue. The revised proposal will include language that requires any increase to be approved by the Board.