Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Toledo trash tax going up?

The City of Toledo is looking at another budget deficit for 2011 - this time around the $5 million mark. Which is no surprise considering that Council has not been as serious as they need to be about reducing expenditures.

They're probably thinking that if they can continue to push the costs into future years (as they repeatedly done in the past), the economy will eventually recover enough to address most of the problem. It's hopeful, but certainly not a solution to the continuing budgetary problems the city faces.

As this has been an ongoing problem, an ongoing solution has been the imposition of taxes. Under the guise of a 'fee,' they've passed a trash tax - basically charging homes for the collection of garbage, despite the fact that our 3/4% payroll tax (and just about all other taxes) is supposed to be covering that service along with the basic services of government.

And just like with most government taxes, it was sold as being temporary with a reduction over time to zero, only to find that it's gone up ... and up ... and perhaps, up again.

An item that was not discussed in last week's council agenda meeting made an appearance last night during the regular meeting for a first reading:

Amend TMC Sec. 963.03(b) to increase refuse collection fee, $15/$8.50/$5 to $12.50/$7.5

Prior to March 31, 2010, the tax was scheduled to be $8.50 per month for residents but would be only $1.00 per month if you recycled. Facing - yes, you guessed it - budgetary shortfalls last year, council scheduled the tax to be $15.00 per month for everyone. But then they put Issue 5 on the ballot, a measure to move money around between general and capital improvement funds, and Mayor Mike Bell promised a reduced trash tax if the measure passed.

It did pass so the tax went to $15 for people who don't recycle, $8.50 for those who do and $5 if you have a homestead exemption.

This ordinance would actually reduce the tax by $2.50 for people who don't recycle, and by $1.00 for those who do.

***Side note: Why they decide the people paying more should get a larger reduction is beyond me - they certainly don't apply that logic to income taxes!

But those with homestead exemptions who are currently paying $5 will have to pay $7.50 - the new recycling rate. According to the latest Census Bureau figures, roughly 13% of Toledo residents are over 65 and eligible for the homestead exemption. Unfortunately, I couldn't easily determine how many households that is - or if that is a larger or smaller number than the number of households that are not recycling.

It appears, though, that seniors will be paying more to counter the decrease non-recyclers are going to get.

Of course, I think the trash tax is wrong and that we shouldn't have one in the first place. But since it appears council is going to do it, it would be preferable for them to not change it every year based upon their ongoing failure to present a budget that has the city living within its means.

1 comment:

James said...

And everyone wonders why Toledo's population is going downward? It's taxes that go up all the time and mismanaging of said taxes by the city leaders.

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