Williams won’t OK budget with fee hike

Dunkirk First Ward Councilman Don Williams stated at Monday’s budget review meeting that he will not be voting on a budget that has an increased tipping fee.

“I’m not voting on a budget that doesn’t have something different in it, and all we’re doing is raising the tipping fee for everybody to pay across the board,” Williams said. “We have to watch out for our elderly people, our single home people and they pay enough already. The tipping fee is a tax, just like a tax increase is a tax. So if we’re going to raise it on them and we’re going to put a hard burden on that I’m going to end up voting ‘no’ on the budget.”

William’s argument is based on garbage amounts left at residences, which is what the tipping fee covers. He cited that there are several homes in the city where many bags are left each week and that if crews just followed the rules of what they are told to pick up that there wouldn’t need to be an increase in fees.

“We read their water meter, I’m assuming that if the water rate is really low, I’m assuming that they’re not doing too much there so there shouldn’t be much garbage out there either,” Williams said. “If they’re not using a lot of water, they’re probably not generating a lot of garbage. If we just follow the rules that have been set up and printed in two languages on a calendar that’s mailed out to every doorstep, there should be no questions by any of those people why we’re leaving garbage behind. And if we have to go pick it up to keep the city clean, send the bill to the people that own the house.”

“I don’t think that we’re in a situation where we can start going one-by-one,” City Treasurer Mark Woods said. “How with the current staff that we have to monitor all of this how do we do it?”

The two shared various examples from around the city as they debated on how to set up a tiered system, which Williams would like to see as he stated there are elderly and single homeowners who don’t generate a lot and shouldn’t be hit for those that should.

“I think it’d be a good thing to do to offset for people that don’t use too much water or don’t put out too much garbage if we had a tiered minimum rate charge then that would kind of offset the increase in the tipping fee,” Williams said. “I think that we have to be firm on the fact that we are having the employees pick up the trash they’re supposed to pick up and leave the rest behind. If we have to then pick it up and bill whoever owns the house then because we picked up extra stuff.”

“Raising the tipping fee to me, you’re only hurting the ones that follow the rules,” he continued. “If we’re never going to follow the rules that are out there, by raising it you’re only hurting the people that follow it already. If we had a tiered structure on it, then people would pay a lower minimum and the tipping fee, then the basic bill would decrease instead of increase and there’d still be a tipping fee out of it. I don’t think we would need to raise the tipping fee if we’d just have our employees follow the rules.”


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