Albany Common Council votes to keep trash fee in the city

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Lawmakers in Albany voted against repealing a trash fee for multi-unit apartment buildings in the city.

The trash fee was passed by the Albany Common Council on January 4. Opponents said the fee is discriminating against some people.

A vote was held Monday night in attempt to repeal the fee, but the Common Council voted eight to five to not repeal after hearing from 25 community members and various council members who gave multiple reasons about why it should be repealed.

Councilman Judd Krasher said the repeal would have ensured that the fee structure, which only targets the owners of two, three and four-unit buildings, ends this year.

“The last thing folks who are working two, three, four jobs trying to pay their bills needs is a cost increase,” he said. “No matter how small that is.”

Krasher said the original legislation was aimed at landlords that own multiple units in one building. They have to pay a trash fee per unit regardless of the number of people living there or how much trash they produce.

But single family homes, where multiple people live and possibly produce more trash, have no fee added.

“It just goes to show how arbitrary and really ridiculous this fee structure is,” Krasher said. “It was very sloppily put together, and it very clearly targets certain groups of people.”

According to Krasher, the fee originally had no expiration date. It currently has a three-year sunset clause attached. His proposed repeal would have ended the fee at the end of 2016.

The Albany mayor’s office wrote the legislation and budgeted $1.5 million from the fee. Krasher said that number would not have been affected by the change.

Bills from 2016 have already been sent out and must be paid. Krasher said the change would have affected the 2017 budget.

“Albany is facing dire fiscal needs here, and we need this,” city of Albany budget director Rachel McEneny said. “This was not something that was thrown together. This was something that was well thought out, planned, and we are glad that the council stayed the course.”

McEneny, also said the following in a statement:

“The Governor in his Executive Budget indicated that we must engage in developing a comprehensive long-term financial plan.  This is a step forward in identifying sustainable revenue streams that are essential to getting Albany onto sound fiscal footing.  

Repealing the fee at this point would have injected uncertainty into the budget process.” 

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