BATAVIA – With only one week left in its fiscal year the City Council Monday got around to approving a $23 million budget that shifts garbage collection costs to individual property owners.
The budget lowers the per $1,000 value tax rate by $1.41 but as of June 1, residents will pay to have trash and recyclables picked up. That’s a boon to businesses that hire private collection services but also pay through property levies.
The vote to end trash pickups passed 8-1 with Ward 4 Councilman Pier Cipollone claiming the change is “not in the best interest of the citizens.”
The decision not to renew a five-year contract for weekly collection with Genesee ARC prompted weeks of protests. The city had paid ARC for the service for nearly three decades. This year for the first time the service was put up to bids and ARC was far from the lowest.
City Manager Jason R. Molino said letters will be sent to all property owners this week explaining the change in collections and listing vendors to take over the service. ARC will be among them. The cost to residents will likely erase the savings from a lower property tax rate, estimated at $125 to $150.
The Council in “cleaning up old business” – some of it a month old – voted against awarding a five-year pact to Allied Waste Management as well as the purchase of wheeled totes that were to be used by a new hauler.
The budget resolutions included $5 million to be raised through local taxation, a small increase in water rates and fees, a 1.5 percent pay raise for non-union and part-time employees, and a realignment of some Police Department personnel, including hiring an assistant chief.
The spending plan also includes funding for the Batavia Development Corp. for two years with $125,000 for its revolving loan fund. The money is expected to come from proceeds from the Batavia Downs Casino’s video lottery terminals. Another $45,000 will be taken from a contingency fund to support a two-year commitment for residential and business development along with job growth strategies.