Talking Trash: Albany City Council At Odds Over Trash Tax

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany Common Council members are at odds over the role the city's trash tax should play in next year's budget.

At the heart of the debate, during a committee meeting Thursday, was whether to expand it or repeal it.

Passed in January, the trash tax requires landlords to pay $180 per year per unit for two-to-four unit apartment buildings. Each building would get one unit free.

Now council member Richard Conti is suggesting the tax be expanded to include more than 13,000 single-family homes. 

Conti's proposal comes just weeks before mayor Kathy Sheehan submits her budget to the common council. 

He says his goal is finance curbside collection, which is currently paid for through landfill revenue since the city doesn't pay to put trash in landfill.

"My intent is not to increase revenue collected, $1.5 million, so to work within that figure and create a fee schedule that's fair and equitably distributed," Conti said.

Conti says long-term the goal is to move toward a "pay as you throw" program,  meaning residents will be charged based on the amount of trash they throw away.

Meanwhile, councilor Judd Krasher is renewing his push to repeal the tax, saying it discriminates against the city's poorest residents.

"It's not about getting to a point where we're more sustainable with trash collection. this is a money grab to make up for lost ground," Krasher said. "That's what this is about and I don't think it's fair the mayor's poor budget practices, the consequences should be put on Albany residents"

No action was taken on the tax during Thursday's meeting. 

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