Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Putting the garbage tax into perspective

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, as part of his solution for the budget deficit, wants to increase taxes.

Among other things, he has asked council to raise the monthly refuse fee (aka: garbage tax) from $7 to $10 for people who do not recycle and from $2 to $7 for those who do. He says this would raise about $1.6 million.

I have several concerns about this proposal - aside from the fact that raising taxes is rarely the best solution.

First, the administration has not addressed, at least publicly, how they arrived at the $1.6 million. Did they assume that all people who currently pay the $7 would continue to refuse to recycle, or did they estimate a percentage of people might begin to recycle in order to keep their monthly payment the same?

Second, the increases in costs for the two groups are not the same. The $5 increase for those who are recycling (and helping the city maximize and prolong the use of the landfill) is 250%. The $3 increase for those who don't recycle is only 43%.

Why the disparity? Is it because they think that people will revolt if asked to pay more than $10 per month for this tax?

Third, and perhaps the most important one, is understanding the true cost of the 'refuse fee.' How do we compare this unvoted tax in order to understand just how much we're really paying?

At $10 per month, it's $120 per year - the equivalent of a 3.91 mill levy. At $7 per month, it's $84 per year - the equivalent of of 2.74 mill levy.

(A 1-mill levy raises about $30.62 per year when applied to a home valued at $100,000. Of course, as this is not a percentage but a flat fee, the costs are disproportionally higher for lower valued properties.)

That's more than we pay in total for the two permanent improvement levies for Toledo Public Schools - or about what we pay for the Port Authority levy, 911 levy, Senior Services levy, MetroParks land levy, and the COSI levy COMBINED.

If the City of Toledo asked you to approve a 2- or 3-mill levy, how would you vote? But if they call it a refuse fee (even though it is clearly a general revenue tax) and add it to your water bill, perhaps you don't realize just how much of a tax it really is.


2Bn11FA said...

can't we get the recall election moved up to like May 1st??????? The sooner the mayor is gone the sooner Toledo begins its opportunity to heal...unless voters do something stupid "again".

Hooda Thunkit said...


"If the City of Toledo asked you to approve a 2- or 3-mill levy, how would you vote?"I would vote NO!

1. I don't believe in taxing property, for anything that isn't directly related to protecting/maintaining that property.

2. Especially with this mayor, taxes never go away, even when implemented as a temporary tax; he has a well earned reputation which contributes to my distrust of anything that he says/promises.

3. I will NEVER vote for any property tax that non property owners have a vote in; to me, this is (or should be) unconstitutional...


Maggie Thurber said...

Jay Ott has left this comment on the post "Pedophiles, but not veterans" - I believe he meant for it to appear here:

What if the 6th Court of Appeals overturns the LC Common Pleas decision "preventing Mrs. Shanahan from initiating a class action to recover “trash fees” already collected by the City"?

Suppose that the Appeals Court upholds the Common Pleas decision about recovering trash fees already paid, but says the city must no longer collect the fee because it is a [hefty 3.91 mil/2.74 levy!!!] tax. Then what?

What if the Appeals Court overturns the decision of the Common Pleas Court granting Mrs. Shanahan "injunctive relief"?

Black Swamp Road Geek said...

Right now Toledo taxes everyone who works in Toledo to pick up garbage in the City. So people that live in the Sylvania and work in Toledo pay in their water bill to have their own garbage picked up and pay to have a reduced garbage fee for UNLIMITED pick up in Toledo. Totally excessive. And business leave Toledo because of it

The answer is for Toledoans to pay for the garbage collection they get including the cost of the operation of the Hoffman Road Landfill and an escrow account to pay for a new landfill in the future. And yes Toledoans, it is an additional fee, but you remember that when the 3/4 % comes up for renewal and vote that down.

Rather than repealing Carty, Toledo should repeal the 3/4% tax and stop fueling the insanity that is Toledo government

Maggie Thurber said...

BSRG - Sylvania residents who work in Toledo don't pay the garbage tax in their water bills....

They do pay the city payroll income tax which was supposed to fund police, fire and garbage.

Just a clarification....

Frank said...

My vote would be a big resounding NO! I already pay for it with my property taxes and if they can't figure out a way to fund things with the current income, then they need to trim or eliminate spending on non-essential items. And I would agree with Hooda that there should be some way for just property owners to vote on issues that affect their property taxes.

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