City Council Backtracks on Changes to Multifamily Trash Collection Policy

Members of the Charlotte City Council are insisting that a proposal to eliminate trash collection for apartment communities remains on the table during budget discussions, despite a vote two weeks ago to refer the city’s solid waste policy to the Environment Committee for a comprehensive, six-month review.

During last week’s budget workshop, Councilman Ed Driggs asked staff to clarify the impact of a unanimous vote by Council during an April 11th business meeting that referred the matter to committee. Councilman John Autry had moved for the referral and asked for a complete review of the City’s trash collection policy, including the potential to adopt  a ‘Pay as You Throw’ program.

After a brief discussion at last week’s workshop, it was determined that the April 11th vote did not mean the proposal to eliminate trash collection for apartments was off the table – only that the Environment Committee would conduct a comprehensive review of the policy and recommend additional, long-term changes. Consequently, this policy could still be included in the City Manager’s proposed FY 2016-17 budget, set to be released on Monday, May 2nd.

Last month, staff recommended a plan that would continue trash pickup for owner-occupied residences, including single-family homes, town homes and condos, while eliminating the service for buildings with multiple units leased to tenets (like apartments), which would be reclassified as multi-family commercial.  The shift from the current policy, which would take effect in the FY 2017-2018 budget year, would save the City about $3 million per year.

REBIC has adopted a formal position opposing the elimination of multifamily trash collection for either apartments or owner-occupied properties. It reads as follows:

It is the position of the Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition (REBIC) that the City of Charlotte should NOT eliminate solid waste services for ANY category of residential property. If City Council desires to address a funding gap for this service, we believe it should adopt a policy of gradually progressing toward full cost recovery in a manner that is equitable for all residents.

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