A city ordinance (Council Bill No. 763) increases the Solid Waste Management (SWM) excise/utility tax rate from 7.75% to 17.75% and extends this tax to include recyclable and compostable refuse. The new taxes, together with revised collection rates, will be included in the new Waste Management contract, which will become effective on Sept. 1, 2020.
City staff estimates that these changes will provide an additional $1.5 million in utility tax revenue to be used primarily to resurface the city’s residential streets. Assuming this an accurate estimate, and given that the annual 2018 SWM utility tax revenue was $344,428, it results in an increase of well over 400%.
These changes, affecting all city homeowners and businesses, are being made in public meetings with ample opportunity for public comment. What is missing is the promised transparency and public outreach.