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City commission discusses equity of garbage collection fees

Commissioner Reina Saco

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

The Gainesville City Commission held a special meeting on July 21 to consider whether the existing Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) system (different rates based on the selected tote size) is equitable.

Sylvia Warren, Acting Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity, said that the data provided to her office was insufficient to determine if the existing system is inequitable, so staff recommended collecting data to support the review. 

Ben Howort, who was hired as an Equity Specialist but is now DEI Manager, said they want “to make sure that the usage is in alignment with where the carts actually are, and we can align demographics for race and income to the actual cart size and what people are paying for.” He said they attempted to correlate the locations of the actual carts with census information, and they “ran into issues with that process and correlating that data.”

City Manager Lee Feldman said they would need data down to the household level: who is living there, household size, demographics, income, etc. He said he wasn’t sure how the City would be able to get that level of detail: “This would be an extremely complicated data analysis to accomplish, and it is probably outside the scope of what we can do internally with the other work that we have. So we would probably need to figure out who to contract with and at what cost.”

Commissioner Harvey Ward said his hope was to reach out “to everyone who has a garbage container, and letting them know there are options.” He wanted a plan from the Manager’s office to contact everyone and tell them that if they’re not filling up their totes, they can downsize and save money, and they can also save money by moving up to a larger size and not having to buy the extra bags.

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Commissioner Reina Saco said she supported staff’s recommendation to do a “deeper dive” into the data collection. 

In response to a question from Commissioner Gail Johnson about the fees, Feldman said the idea behind PAYT is that the City pays tipping fees based on the number of tons sent to the landfill, so PAYT encourages people to use smaller containers to save money for both themselves and the City. 

Johnson said they also needed to talk about the number of recycling bins and yard waste, since the fees for those services are included in the garbage fee, and people with smaller yards don’t put out yard waste and thus subsidize those with bigger yards. Feldman said he didn’t know of a way to determine how much yard waste any given home puts out.

Ward moved that the commission direct the Manager’s office to bring them, within 90 days, a plan, with costs included, to engage every garbage container user, to help them best use the City’s collection service, recognizing that several charter officers will need to be included in execution of such a strategy. Hayes-Santos seconded the motion. 

Saco said that although the motion didn’t deal with data collection, she wanted to be “sensitive” to asking how many people live in a residence or their race because “a lot of folks, for a variety of reasons, whether they’re renters who are only supposed to have 3 people in there, but, you know, a cousin is now living—whether they’re undocumented, whether a relative who’s not supposed to be on the lease is staying there—There’s a number of reasons why people are afraid of data gathering, and the last thing I want us to do is create a public record noting—there’s a number of black families that live on this street.”

The motion passed unanimously. Hayes-Santos then moved to adopt the staff’s recommendation to collect more data but also look at why people have selected different carts. That motion also passed unanimously. 

  • No surprise that they are spending their time discussing garbage…
    That seems to be what they usually do, actually…

  • Wacko Saco, his majesty’s very own dumpster diver…she is used to doing deep dives – just from the wrong place. I think any sitting publicly elected official who supports the harboring of an illegal immigrant should be deported with the immigrant. That will fix that issue.

    Harvey “Two Face” Ward, the only container that holds garbage people need to know about is his mouth.

    Best thing that could happen is if residents throw out the garbage who pretends to represent them.

    They’ll never do a full pay as you throw… I’ve tried to stop the service they give me and they said it wasn’t optional.

  • ProfessionalRacistsShowingMuzzledFaces OnADailyOrderFollowingAnti-WhiteBasis

  • Layers of Scam

    Commissioner Harvey Ward said his hope was to reach out “to everyone who has a garbage container, and letting them know there are options.” He wanted a plan from the Manager’s office to contact everyone and tell them that if they’re not filling up their totes, they can downsize and save money, and they can also save money by moving up to a larger size and not having to buy the extra bags.

    City Manager Lee Feldman said they would need data down to the household level: who is living there, household size, demographics, income, etc. He said he wasn’t sure how the City would be able to get that level of detail: “This would be an extremely complicated data analysis to accomplish, and it is probably outside the scope of what we can do internally with the other work that we have. So we would probably need to figure out who to contract with and at what cost.”

    (Meanwhile, Homeless are trashing the city by deliberate governmental design (and there just don’t seem to be enough governmental resources flush in CorruptCovidCash to pick up the desired homeless trash that is supposed to demoralize the good hearts of Gainesville)

  • Ward moved that the commission direct the Manager’s office to bring them, within 90 days, a plan, with costs included, to engage every garbage container user, to help them best use the City’s collection service, recognizing that several charter officers will need to be included in execution of such a strategy. Hayes-Santos seconded the motion.

    (They want to get inside your front door and lie to you some more about their Governmental Torture)

  • Notice anything in the photo for this article? Saco can’t
    Even sit in a seat with her correct name tag or David Arreola successfully transitioned…I guess they still wear
    The mask because they didn’t get the Covid Vax or
    They don’t trust it because it came from Trumps’ operation warp speed. Maybe they need to check
    With the office of equity and diversity to see if the
    Masks work…I think they need to triple up with the
    Masks because of the delta variant and get a booster
    Shot to protect us…

  • City Manager Lee Feldman said they would need data down to the household level: who is living there, household size, demographics, income, etc. He said he wasn’t sure how the City would be able to get that level of detail: “This would be an extremely complicated data analysis to accomplish, and it is probably outside the scope of what we can do internally with the other work that we have. So we would probably need to figure out who to contract with and at what cost.”

    A few blocks west of City Hall is the Univ of Fla where they teach courses is statistics.

    STAT101 introduces the curious to the concept of sampling–the process of choosing a small representative number of the target population and querying them in as much detail as needed.

    Yes, you will need to contract this work out if you want it done RIGHT!

    Very simple solution, no mysteries involved.

    Tell me again how much are we paying this toady?

  • How long before they will try to impose a Gainesville Income Tax? I doubt the Florida constitution allows it, but plenty of other cities in other states have local income taxes. San Francisco’s is 1.5 percent, and they still can’t begin to take care of all their “homeless.”

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