BATAVIA – The City Council has set three public hearings for Feb. 11, including a controversial city recycling proposal that pits sentiment against savings.
The 2013-14 budget of $23.7 million reduces real property taxes by 14 percent but has one possible point of contention: a pay raise for Council members.
A second hearing will seek input on proposed water and sewer rate increases, adding small costs to both services through water use and meter rates.
The third is a local law to amend rules governing pickup of trash and recyclables. A new vendor is likely for an April 1 start. The service likely will go to the lowest bidder.
Genesee ARC has performed weekly pickups for nearly 30 years. This year, for the first time, the vendor was sought through bids. The lowest bid for the five-year contract was Allied Waste Services of Buffalo, a change that would save the city $1.3 million. ARC was the highest of four bids.
However, ARC has been widely praised for its dependable work and the use of disabled workers who might not find other employment. About 20 of ARC’s 30 employees would be affected.
As for the budget proposal, the amount to be raised by local taxes is $4.9 million. That would reduce the property tax levy $1.56 cents, to $9.15 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Waste pickup, however, no longer will be included in the tax bill. It will become a separate fee of $1.69 to $1.98 per $1,000, erasing the tax break for many homeowners.
That has led some to question whether a City Council raise, approved last year by a 6-3 vote, ought to be continued. The raise is $1,500 to $3,500 for eight members, and $2,100 to $4,900 for the Council president.
The Council Monday night in a conference session also discussed bids for the bins for trash and recyclables. The lowest came from Cascade Engineering, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The prices range from $46.45 to $49.78 for trash depending on size and quantity, and $44.69 to $51.53 for recycling. There are three sizes for the roll-out carts, 35, 65 and 95 gallons.
The Feb. 11 hearings will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.