Since 2006, the City of St. Petersburg has charged an extra $19.1 million for sanitation bills than it has needed to collect garbage. Over the last 5 years, the city has been banking extra cash to the tune of $2.5-4.2 million per year all off the backs of 82,000 sanitation customers. Now, this inflated garbage bill will be used as a down payment on a so called “universal” recycling plan to hide the necessarily higher cost of this plan. New Mayor Rick Kriseman and new City Council members Amy Foster and Darden rice ran with a strong promise to institute the recycling program.
The extra annual surplus from the sanitation department has occurred due to regular increases in the sanitation fees over the last many years. In 2006, the city imposed a massive 22% increase on the garbage bills for citizens. In the three years that followed, the rate went up 2.6-6%. As a revenue surplus developed, some of these dollars were transferred to the City’s “General Fund” for use on non-sanitation spending. Another portion of it was placed into the city’s reserve funds allowing a growing bank account for the city with a sanitation reserve fund of $12.4 million, nearly twice its $6.4 million target.
But the City has indicated that even with the higher sanitation bills, recycling will still cost more. City Public Works Administrator Mike Connors told the Tampa Bay Times last summer: “Universal curbside recycling will cost more” and “It’s tough for me to justify the economic benefit of curbside recycling.” There will be new trucks to buy along with new individual containers for homes and new larger multi-user containers in alley ways. Connors also stated that there would be no way to reduce trash enough to go to once a week pick up. That means an additional recycling pickup will be required in the city on top of the current twice weekly pick up or as part of it.
But these sorts of facts are not going to stop the recycling crowd. These are the same folks who supported Obamacare and double down on that support despite its many emerging failures. These are the ones who supported the ban on incandescent light bulbs to solve the hoax of man-made global warming. No, the true believer will never be dissuaded from forcing everyone to pay higher garbage bills. They must get their way and force everyone to manage their garbage the way they are told. The irony is that Mayor Kriseman stated that his government will have a vision of improving the quality of life of the “suffering, vulnerable and voiceless”, yet there will be more suffering for all with the higher garbage bills.
What will happen is that the Mayor and his hard-left City Council will use the artificially high garbage bills as the first down payment to fund the costly and unnecessary recycling program. After sapping the average $3 million annual surplus from the sanitation department, they will further increase garbage bills or raise taxes elsewhere to subsidize the effort. A better plan would be to cut garbage bills about 5% bills and allow people to pay for their own recycling. But that would involve lower taxes and more freedom – something foreign to the utopian dreamers now running the government of the City of St. Petersburg.