Houston City Council approved paying for a study that could recommend a monthly garbage fee. The controversial idea has been proposed and rejected before, but the odds may be rising under Mayor John Whitmire. Officials already have floated a roughly $20 monthly fee.

The new mayor is under pressure to pay for a proposed $1.5 billion settlement with firefighters and maintain services at the same time federal pandemic relief funds are set to run out. To skeptical council members, Whitmire insisted the study will not be used simply to justify a monthly bill. “It’s all-inclusive – efficiencies, cost-effectiveness, performance,” Whitmire said. “It’s not focused primarily on the garbage fee, but really to see how they’re doing so well with so little.”

Houston is the only major city in Texas to not charge a garbage fee, instead opting to fund the Solid Waste Management Department’s roughly $100 million annual budget with tax dollars. Ever since voters imposed a property tax revenue cap in 2004, however, the idea of charging for trash collection has taken on new urgency.

To read the full story, visit https://houstonlanding.org/city-council-oks-study-of-houstons-solid-waste-department-that-could-recommend-garbage-fee/.
Author: Matt Sledge, Houston Landing