Gastonia Solid Waste Division Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Doesn’t my property taxes cover solid waste collection? Why is there a need for an additional solid waste fee?
Property tax revenue does not fully cover the cost to provide solid waste services. Moreover, the City of Gastonia has held its property tax rate stable for the past six years, since July 2012, but costs to provide solid waste services have increased steadily during that time, requiring another source of revenue to cover the rising costs.
The most equitable way to fund solid waste services is equally (50-50) from property tax revenue and user fees because not all taxpayers receive solid waste services. In most cases, the City does not provide solid waste services to commercial and industrial property owners, who are also taxpayers. They are responsible for providing their own solid waste services. Similarly, not all residential property owners receive solid waste services. For instance, owners of vacant lots, also taxpayers, don’t receive regular solid waste services for the vacant property that they own. Thus, relying solely on property tax revenue is not an equitable way to fund a service that not all taxpayers use. That’s why a combination of property tax revenue and a user fee is a more appropriate way to fund residential solid waste service.
Why is the cost for garbage service increasing from $6.50 to $8.50 per household per month?
Several factors have resulted in the need to raise the monthly household solid waste fee. In Fiscal Year 2019, the City’s landfill cost will increase by approximately $58,000, and the cost to provide recycling services will increase by approximately $14,000. Also, the City needs to replace three aging automated garbage trucks, with an annual debt service cost of $190,000. Last fiscal year, the actual cost of providing solid waste services was $16.91 per household per month. The $6.50 solid waste fee per household currently paid by residents covers approximately 40 percent of the actual cost to provide the service. The remaining 60 percent is funded by property tax revenue. Taking into account the upcoming increases and the City’s philosophy of funding solid waste expenses equally from property tax revenue and user fees, the $8.50 revised fee will cover approximately 50 percent of the cost of providing the service.
Why is it necessary to begin charging a fee for the collection of large bulky yard waste piles?
There has been no fee for this service. However, beginning July 1, the City begins charging a user fee of $25 to pick up large bulky yard waste piles weighing more than 100 pounds. The fee will increase incrementally. For instance, if the pile weighs 200 pounds but less than 300 pounds, the cost will be $50. The City uses a similar tiered fee system for collecting trash placed outside of the garbage cart for special pickup. Only residents using the bulky yard waste service will incur the charge, which will appear on their monthly utility bill. The fee will help cover the cost of the specialized truck and equipment required to provide the service and the associated landfill fee.
To help avoid the added service fee, residents may want to use the City’s yard waste cart service. The cart is a similar size as the garbage cart and for a one-time fee of $50 the city will deliver the cart, provide a weekly collection and offer free repair and/or replacement of the cart if it becomes damaged or broken at no additional cost. It’s also convenient to roll around the yard to collect yard waste and is designed to hold up to 300 pounds.