Houston Doesn’t Need A Garbage Fee
Carroll G. Robinson*
Does anybody at City Hall understand that requiring Houston homeowners to pay a new fee to get our garbage picked up is just like increasing our property tax rate?
Houston homeowners already pay a fee for the city garbage can we have to use to get our garbage picked up. If we have an alarm on our home or on our business we have to pay an alarm fee. If we need an ambulance we also have to pay a fee.
Maybe the Mayor and City Council members just don’t get it. Most Houstonians are struggling to pay our mortgages, home insurance, property tax bill, water and sewer bill, alarm fee, car note, car insurance, gas for our car, our electric bill, health insurance bill (if we have coverage at all), college tuition, the expenses of taking care of our children and helping take care of our parents or grandchildren.
During the late 1990’s when the Solid Waste Department became more efficient, we went from twice weekly garbage pickup to once a week pickup and a garbage can fee.
In March Mayor White and City Council will decide whether Houston homeowners should be charged a garbage pickup fee.
When will enough be enough? Taxpayers need to keep some of our hard earned money to survive and take care of our family.
Garbage pickup is a basic city service that should be paid for out of the property taxes and sales taxes homeowners already pay.
Houston doesn’t need a garbage fee. We don’t have to do everything that other cities do. Mayor White and City Council members should use the profits from selling our excess water capacity to consumers outside of the city to help pay for more police protection, drainage projects, garbage pickup, park space and other basic city services.
If handled properly and innovatively, sales of the city’s excess water capacity to consumers outside of Houston could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our city.
Houston doesn’t need a new garbage fee, we need new thinking on our spending priorities, how we structure and operate city government, and new ideas on how to use the resources we already own to raise revenue without nickeling-and-diming Houston taxpayers out of more of our hard earned money.
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*Robinson is Associate Dean of External Affairs at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, a former At-Large Member of the Houston City Council and Chairman of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce.