Bad Government, Sneaky Taxes, and Garbage
This coming Monday, December 14, the Tiverton Town Council will (hopefully) be hearing from residents concerning a proposed “pay as you throw” program for garbage pickup. The nutshell background is that (despite regular and significant annual tax increases) the town has not been putting aside adequate resources to close the landfill when it runs out in five or so years, and it’s going to have to come up with around $4 million one way or another.
The proposed solution is to charge residents for the garbage bags that they may use — $1 for a small bag (15 gallons) and $2 for a large bag (33 gallons). With an extremely conservative estimate of one bag per household per week (my household will probably burn through two or three large bags on an average week), the Landfill Committee is estimating gross revenue of $520,000.
The catch is that, even if we go with that ludicrously low number, the cost of garbage pickup to residents will pretty much be doubling, because the budget line item for “rubbish/recycling collection” currently runs us $573,601. The new bag fees would amount to a massive tax increase that isn’t subject to the tax cap. Worse still, families (like mine) that cannot afford another regular household expense and opt, instead, to lose weekend time going to the dump, will end up subsidizing the trash pickup of those who are better off, because we’ll still be paying the initial taxes.
Personally, I’d support ending curbside pickup altogether. That’s not politically feasible, though, so if the town council goes forward with this proposal, it should allow households to “opt out” and receive a refund of that portion of their property taxes that support rubbish collection (around $105, on average).