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Published: Wednesday, 5/19/2010

No discount for recycling in city trash fee proposal

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Bell administration's plan to cut Toledo's monthly trash fee - as it promised to do if voters approved Issue 5 at the polls this month - doesn't include a discount for recycling.

Toledo's monthly refuse fee was $8.50 for those who didn't recycle and $1 for those who did. That was the fee until March 30, when a divided City Council increased it to $15 a month.

Mayor Mike Bell said he needed that increase to help address a $48 million general fund deficit.

By mid-April, his administration offered a new fee he planned to ask council to enact if voters approved Issue 5 - which they did. That measure allows the city to reallocate its 0.75 percent income tax and use money from the capital improvement budget to support the general fund.

A memorandum from the mayor's office said the fee would be cut to $5 for seniors with homestead exemptions; $8.50 for Toledoans who recycle, and $15 for Toledoans who do not recycle.

The proposal the Bell administration put before council yesterday still charges senior citizens who have a homestead exemption $5 a month, but everyone else would pay $10.

Deputy Mayor of Operations Steve Herwat said the current plan is simpler for the city.

"Frankly, it would be difficult to tell when someone is recycling," he said. "Ten dollars would be a lot easier."

Some councilmen questioned whether many Toledoans would continue to separate their trash and recyclables if there isn't a financial incentive.

It was unclear if senior citizens who rent a home or apartment would have to pay the higher fee under the current proposal.

Council could vote on the new fee next week.

It also could vote to end the increased income tax charged to people who live in Toledo but work outside the city, which the mayor promised as well.



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