Candidates On: Assessing a Garbage Fee

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As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. has proposed a garbage collection fee which, so far, City Council has resisted. What is your stance on this fee?”—-

Mike Allen (Independent): “I am not in favor of a garbage collection fee. I am in favor of opening garbage collection, and many other services, to managed competition. When municipal workers are permitted to fairly compete, they win the job nearly 70 percent of the time. However, they find ways to provide these services with newfound efficiency and lower costs.”

Kevin Flynn (Charterite): “As presently proposed, I oppose the garbage fee. Call it what you want, a garbage fee is a tax, and a regressive tax at that. The need for the garbage tax goes back to the fact that garbage collection is, besides Public Safety, the other major component of the General Operating Budget. Unless we are willing to look at city finances as a whole, instead of focusing on only one piece, we will forever be facing this false argument. Let’s share capital between departments, analyze our Water Works and Sewer departments, audit SORTA, and enhance revenue collection of our existing taxes and fees before we raise taxes on those least able to afford the increase.”

Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “Cincinnati is facing an economic crisis due to a lack of revenue. Drastic cuts have been made across most departments and it is clear we aren’t going to cut our way out of this challenge. As such, I am open to instating a modest garbage collection fee in an effort for the city to balance the budget and still provide basic services.”

Patricia McCollum (Independent): “I am against a garbage collection fee which is attached to an existing service.”

Catherine Smith Mills (Republican): “I do not support a trash fee.”

Sandra Queen Noble (Independent): “He's a morpher, over-charging folks for the grand larceny committed by public and staff officials dipping in the till. In '05, I ran for mayor. I offered a guaranteed cure for male-pattern baldness. I'd still do Mr. Dohoney, damn!”

Jason Riveiro (Democrat): “I believe in making recycling a program everyone wants to participate in. Garbage is a basic city service. I want to incentivize recycling instead of creating roadblocks for individuals; however, I am not in favor of a ballot initiative to tie our options in the future. I want to support the (Office of Environmental Quality) and use their ideas for revenue generation through recycling and other green initiatives as a the way to treat garbage.”

Chris Seelbach (Democrat): “I support a 'pay-as-you-throw fee,' which encourages less consumption and more reusing/ recycling. Almost every City our size has a garbage fee, but we shouldn’t charge the same amount to a household that consistently throws away everything they consume, opposed to a family who recycles and reuses as much as possible. This program would have a maximum and minimum fee and, depending on the weight of the trash, residents would pay along a sliding scale based on the previous months weight totals.”

P.G. Sittenfeld (Democrat): “I do not support a garbage fee. Taxpayer dollars should support basic services, and that includes trash pick-up.”

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