On March 2, the Natural Resource and Culture Committee discussed Mayor Sanders's decision to end trash collection for 4620 private businesses as well as 14,200 residences located on private roads, including 20 gated communities and five mobile-home parks. The plan could save the city $1.2 million annually.
The People's Ordinance, enacted in 1919, provides free trash pickup for homes on city streets, but it does not cover thousands of residences located in private subdivisions. To accommodate those on private streets, the city entered into "Hold Harmless Agreements," which provided trash pickup on private roads. But because of ongoing budget deficits, the Mayor has decided to throw those agreements to the curb.
Anne Krueger is president of a homeowner's association in Paradise Hills, the largest development to be affected by the mayor's decision.
"It doesn't seem right that we should be penalized just because we live in a [private community]," Krueger said during public comment. "We're a working-class community. Neither our homeowners or HOA can afford this sudden increase in cost."
Councilmember David Alvarez asked city staff about the cost to homeowners' associations and those living in mobile-home parks.
"Certainly, it will be an increased cost," responded Chris Gonaver, director of the city's environmental services department. Gonaver estimated that it would cost each residence approximately $20 per month.
"We are all concerned about people in our own districts, but given that I've got four of the five mobile-home parks, it is really concerning," Alvarez said.
"Let me dispel this notion that [trash pickup] is a free service. It's not free," said councilmember Carl DeMaio. "You pay your taxes. Voters voted, and they decided that this would be a core service. The right thing to do is safeguard these 14,000 residents."
The committee directed staff to return with amendments to the municipal code that will give the council authority to rescind the decision.