Last year Gables Insider informed you that fee’s were being increased. Gables Insider has now learned that, at the June 9th City Commission meeting, the city administration will present a new plan to increase fees and eliminate the early payment discount of over $130 and eventually have the bill placed exclusively on your property tax bill.
In 2015, due to over $3 million in uncollected solid waste bills, the city came up with a plan to incentivize early payments in full and in exchange residents would receive a 15% discount. If the bill were not paid early, the city would then place a higher bill amount on your tax roll to ensure payments were received.
Prior to placing the Solid Waste assessment on the tax bill, approximately 30% of properties took advantage of the early payment discount. The city says, now approximately 72% of property owners are paying early resulting in lower revenues of an estimated $600,000 a year.
What does that mean? It translates into nearly a 28% subsidy to your waste bill from a prior 17% subsidy before 2015. The city says the aforementioned loss of revenue has been the most significant cause of the increase in subsidy.
Where has the subsidy money been coming from? Over the last handful of years, you probably saw your property taxes increase. While the city has not increased the millage rate, they technically did not need to in order to grow the budget – because your property value increased. The subsidy comes year-over-year from the general fund, funded by property tax dollars. Do not forget all the new revenue from new development.
Fast forward to 2020, when COVID-19 plagues the world economy, the city looks towards residents to eliminate the early discount and pass through additional waste tipping fee increases to the residents.
Here are what the numbers look like for a single-family home who counts on the early discount over the next three years:
** These numbers do not include futuristic waste tipping fee increases that have been passed through to residents since FY2019 averaging 1.5% per year.
** The city highlights the fact residents can get up to a 4% discount if they pay their property taxes early with Miami-Dade County. This graph does not include that potential discount.
The costs of in-house garbage collection will continue to grow at an exponential rate with personnel costs, insurance, fleet replacement, and tipping fees at the disposal plants.
Other municipalities have turned to private companies such as Waste Management which currently handles our city’s downtown and commercial-residential properties.
Gables Insider spoke with a retired waste industry expert and confirmed the same white-glove, side-yard pickup, inclusive of new waste bins for every residence, can be offered at a significant reduction in price to the taxpayers along with no subsidies from the city. Is it time for the city to explore its options?
Tune in to the Tuesday, June 9th Virtual Commission Meeting to find out where Coral Gables is heading in regards to this issue.