SAN DIEGO — Single-family homeowners haven’t paid for trash pickup services in over 100 years thanks to a 1919 law called the People’s Ordinance — but that could soon change.
A measure on the November ballot would allow the city to recover pickup costs from the 47% of San Diegans — about 285,000 residents — who have been exempt.
And now we know roughly how much homeowners could expect to pay. According to an independent audit, single-family homeowners could pay a fee between $23 and $29 dollars every month, or about $287 dollars a year.
Renters and others in multi-unit buildings have already been paying for trash.
“We’re trying to equal the playing field. We’re trying to do it in a way that creates fiscal responsibility, by providing the city with the resources it needs to address some of its greatest problems,” San Diego City Council president Sean Elo-Rivera told FOX 5.
Elo-Rivera took particular aim at residences that already effectively function as multi-unit housing, but aren’t paying for trash right now.
“As the law currently stands we cannot recover a dollar from ‘mini-dorms’ in the College Area or Airbnb vacation rentals that are piling up trash in our beach communities on a regular basis,” he said.
The audit’s calculation was based on the $79 million the city pays for trash collection, divided by 12 months. However, there’s no number in the measure on the ballot in November.
“We’re not talking about a fee right now, only to change the city ordinance to allow for cost recovery. Once that happens, the next step in the process would be the community engagement process,” Elo-Rivera said.
It’s important to note, no fees will be imposed for at least two years, prompting some to argue the audit’s estimates are too low and don’t take into account inflation and other secondary costs associated with city services like new trash bins and extra recycling pickup dates.