By Charles Sercombe
The cost of throwing out garbage just went up $3 per month for each household in Hamtramck.
The total increase for the year will be $36.
The City Council recently agreed to add the $3 monthly fee for each housing unit in the city to cover the shortfall the city receives from its sanitation tax. The city collects about $600,000 a year from the sanitation tax, but that falls $130,000 short of the actual cost to collect trash.
The new fee will generate $250,000 a year. The extra $120,000 will be used to cover the cost of cleaning and maintaining the city’s 300 empty lots. Financial Director Nevers Nazarko said the city’s General Fund had been picking up the cost for the lot maintenance and shortfall on garbage collection for several years.
He said that now that the city faces a $4.3 million deficit in the next three years, it’s become impossible for the city to cover the extra costs. Homeowners will receive the fee through the city’s water bills.
City Councilmembers didn’t make the decision to impose the fee lightly. Councilmembers Cathie Gordon and Kazi Miah voted against it. Miah said the city needs to “draw the line” on extra charges and eliminate “luxury” items, although he didn’t identify what items he considers to be a luxury.
Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole said that while times are tough for many households, the city can’t afford to subsidize garbage collection.
“People have to pay actual costs,” she said.