The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 25th

Aldermen Hear Trash Debate

The aldermen are looking at implementing a fee to offset some of the cost of garbage pickup in the town.

"All I want from this town are three things: police, fire and public works," he said. "This is a basic public works service, and I shouldn't be charged for it."

Ellington, of 109 Bruton Drive in Carrboro, was speaking on the topic of waste disposal fees. The Board of Aldermen has been considering a fee for garbage pickup for the last few weeks as a way to help alleviate the cost of waste disposal on the town.

There are several proposed ways to implement fees on the town.

The one that has been widely discussed is a plan to require business owners to pay for commercial trash bin pickup and then charge homeowners and families for their bags of household waste. Several members of the community spoke strongly against various possible fee implementations.

Devan Clark of 105 Kay St. and Raymond Pendergrass of 509 Hillsborough Road both spoke of the impact new fees would have on retirees with fixed incomes.

"My trash each week fills up a little white bag," Pendergrass said. "They don't even have to stop the truck, they just reach out and grab it.

"You are driving the people out who have been here for 50 years, who have raised kids and built homes," he said. "They can't afford to live here anymore."

Clark agreed with Pendergrass, saying retirees are in a much tighter spot than other home and business owners.

"My income only goes up with inflation," Clark said. "Last year, the inflation rate was 1.5 percent. The tax increase was more than that.

"People with fixed incomes can't lay the burden of the cost on customers, like business owners."

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, attended the meeting as a Carrboro resident instead of a state delegate for the evening.

Kinnaird said she was there at the request of her neighbor and passed along the feelings of people in her neighborhood. "I've heard a lot of good discussion tonight, but what you must realize is that pay-as-you-throw is the only way to go."

The pay-as-you-throw concept is one the aldermen have batted around since the beginning of discussions. It entails a fee for each unit of garbage produced. The unit can be set by the town to whatever amount the aldermen desire.

Barbara McConagha disagreed with the senator, saying the people pay-as-you-throw hurts are the ones who cannot afford it.

"There was an old couple who lived next to me who had half a bag of trash. There was another family who had three small children and produced an overflow of trash every week," McConagha said.

"This is the kind of family that will pay the most for pay-as-you-throw and the one who can afford it the least."

Aaron Nelson, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed fees would hit businesses hardest.

"If you lower taxes and then create fees, you're playing a zero sum game overall," Nelson said. "But for a business, that could mean a large increase in fees for dumpster pickup over the savings from lowered taxes."

The aldermen left the issue without a vote. The topic will be brought to the table at a later date.

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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