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NYC may impose user fee in its solid waste plan.

NYC may impose user fee in its solid waste plan

The city is expected to come out with a solid waste plan sometime in November, December or January to fund its solid waste and incineration development. While the incinerators would be funded by bonds, one of the mechanisms to add revenue could be a user fee.

Benjamin Miller, director of policy planning for the Sanitation Department for solid waste management, said the notion of charging for waste collection is something that is being considered by the management committee together with other proposals on solid waste management which would finance such things as recycling facilities and landfill as well. "It is being worked on at City Hall," Miller said, "and could include user fees in the range of feasible possibilities."

Philip J. Rudd, chairman of the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York said this is a move to remove the cost of garbage collection from the city to apartment owners. "What about the guy from the rent protected apartment?" Rudd wondered, "This is just another way of beating up owners."

Miller said he did not know what the recommendations will be. "It not something that will happen overnight but we may recommend that some pilot studies be done." "Other places have turned to user fees, he said, and its and effective way of giving an incentive. "The high rise apartment buildings adds a whole level of possibilities," he agreed. "Would the landlord pay it or could it parallel the water authority with universal metering?"

Pat Hetkin, the president of the District 7 Sanitation Council, which covers Park West Village, and part of Lincoln Towers, said "If it would involve a garbage tax per apartment, I'm not sure of the methodology that would be used to make the assessment." Hetkin said she knows of small towns in New Jersey which charge per bag. But, she noted, the only buildings are single family homes where there is a direct correlation between the user and the fee.

Robert P. Lemieux, the Deputy Sanitation Commissioner in charge of Solid Waste Management and Facilities Development said "One thing we will be talking about is a solid waste authority. I don't believe we are in a position to make recommendations as to how fees are being charged. It will talk about the potential for a solid waste authority but the financing of it is still very much an open issue. The solid waste authority is actively under discussion and the Mayor has mentioned it."

Lemieux said while the authority will be discussed in the plan, he did not believe there would be specific fees mentioned. He noted that the city would not be the first to have an authority for this kind of function.

Rudd pointed out that sanitation collection costs are a part of the real estate taxes which also pays for police, fire, trash removal and other services. "This is just the way they switched water off the city services," he added.

Debar Beck, vice president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said, "This is the wrong time in lieu of increased taxes to burden property owners with increased expenses that should be covered by the regular budget." She said the city should be covered by the regular budget." She said the city should not forego reviewing all of its budget expenses and deciding which services must be curtailed or stopped. "Clearly they cannot stop collecting garbage but to isolate an element of city service which taxpayers have expected the city to provide, and charging a separate fee is not only inappropriate but grossly unfair to property owners who are a critical party of the city. I hope they rethink this unless they cut down on the property taxes."

Dan Margulies, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) agreed saying, "Owners will be happy to pay if they get a commensurate reduction in the property taxes that they are already paying for that service."

The Mayors Task Force, led by Roger Altman, is expected to put forth its proposal in the next few months. Sanitation Commissioner, Steven M. Polan, skirted the issue last week at a meeting with the New York Chamber of Commerce.

In order to create a solid waste authority, State legislation is required. Lemieux said the legislature might also ask for a home rule message from the City Council.
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Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 23, 1991
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