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Trash And Recycling Fees In Atlanta To Be Issue For Next Mayor

Atlanta residents could see a big increase in recycling fees under a proposed plan.
Atlanta residents could see a big increase in recycling fees under a proposed plan.
Credit Elaine Thompson / Associated Press
Audio version of this story here.

The city of Atlanta can’t keep up with the costs of trash and recycling. And the problem is getting pushed on to the next mayor and city council.

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Public Works Commissioner William Johnson told city council members Tuesday waste services are in the red. The deficit stands at more than $13 million.

Johnson said user fees just aren’t covering the cost of picking up trash and recycling. So his department wants to raise those fees.

But residents, like Adrian Coleman Tyler, were skeptical. The proposed recycling fee increase was a nearly 50 percent hike — from $88 to $130 over three years.

“Increasing rates shouldn’t always be our go to plan,” Tyler said. “What I would ask is the city that you look for inefficiencies.”

The commissioner, for his part, agreed about the inefficiencies.

He said more than 50 percent of the budget is spent on labor. And his department wants to bring that down, by buying more advanced trucks.

However, he said public works needs money to do that.

The city’s fleet is relatively new. Nearly 50 vehicles, about half of all trucks, were purchased in the last five years.

Ultimately, the City Council City Utilities Committee voted to delay the issue until the next administration.