City Still Tinkering with Potential Trash Fee

Deputy Mayor for Transportation Rina Cutler said the city has revised their ideas on how to charge a trash fee, based on complaints about their original proposal of a $5 flat fee for every household.

Charging a sanitation fee is one of many ideas the administraion is considering as they figure out how to close a $1 billion budget shortfall over the next five years. Cutler said the city got negative feedback for a flat rate, with many noting that roughly 24 percent of the city lives beneath the poverty line.

"I think we need to do it somewhat incrementally," Cutler said.

So, Cutler said she is now considering charging an annnual base rate per household -- one rate for people below the poverty line and one for everyone else -- as well as a per-bag fee each week. Cutler said the per-bag charges should prompt more free recycling.

"We're expecting the recycling rate to triple and the trash rates to come down," said Cutler, noting that increased recycling would bring down the city's landfill costs and contribute to the mayor's goals of making Philadelphia a greener city.

Mayor Nutter stressed that nothing has been decided yet regarding a trash fee. "At the moment it remains an idea under design and construction," he said.