City to consider trash rate hike

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By David Giuliani

The Las Vegas City Council will be asked to raise trash rates by 43 percent at its meeting today.

Under the city staff’s proposal, residents’ bills would be increased from $14 a month to $20. Additionally, the rate structure would include automatic 5 percent yearly increases from 2012 to 2015.

That’s too much at once, Councilman David Romero said this week.

“We’re not ready for it. I’ve talked to constituents, and they say it is a ridiculous increase. The increase should be in steps, a little bit at a time,” Romero said.

But Mayor Alfonso Ortiz remains a proponent of the rate hike, saying he doesn’t want to push the solid waste department’s problems down the road any further.

“If we want services, who else will pay for them? The federal and state governments don’t have money available,” the mayor said.

City staffers argued that the money was needed to offset an ongoing deficit in the solid waste department, pay for needed equipment and building improvements, clean up the old landfill at Camp Luna and improve the recycling program.

The city would get a 10-year bond if the council approves the rate increase.

Ortiz said one council member told him that because other councils delayed solving the problems in solid waste, the current administration could do the same. But he said the city needs to “bite the bullet” now.

“If we don’t do this, a year from now, we’ll be in a worse situation than we’re in now,” the mayor said.

Opponents contend the increase would particularly hurt the elderly and others on fixed incomes. But city officials point to a $5-a-month discount that is given to those who are both over 55 and on Medicaid.

Only 28 people get that discount now, which means the city has to work to publicize it, officials say.

The last trash rate increase — 10 percent — was in 2008.


At a glance

What: City Council’s regular meeting

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: City Council chambers, 1700 N. Grand Ave.

Information: Call the city clerk’s office at 454-1401.