Troy tosses ‘Pay as You Throw’ garbage plan

Rensselaer County

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Troy’s City Council passed the city budget Tuesday night with bipartisan support. While it includes plans to improve quality of life in the city, it won’t include a controversial waste program that’s been on the table for some time.

The budget does not include the “Pay as You Throw” (PAYT) waste program. It’s been postponed for at least a year.

According to Carmella Mantello, Troy City Council President, “On paper it sounds great: Get people to recycle more, let’s incentivize them by charging them more, and then they’ll recycle more. But the unfortunate thing is, for renters, for low-income folks, and for many of our multi-housing units, many of those folks may turn to dump illegally.”

The program was designed to save residents money while also reducing waste. Residents would need to purchase special trash bags, and would only pay for what they throw away. But the program received sharp backlash over claims of actually increasing costs, while also making trash pickup more complicated.

In a statement, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said he’s disappointed about the program’s postponement, but will work toward implementing it in 2022. He said that planning for the future of solid waste management is a challenge facing municipalities across the country:

“Shrinking landfill capacity and increasing costs for tipping fees creates a new urgency around modernizing our solid waste management system and reduces expenses in the long term.”

Patrick Madden
Mayor of Troy

Other parts of the budget include expanding youth programs and continuing quality of life initiatives to improve Troy’s parks and neighborhood.

However, though Mantello says she supports those aspects, she isn’t pleased that PAYT be considered again next year, writing in a statement responding to the passage of the budget:

“While I’m pleased youth services were enhanced, city pocket parks will see much needed overdue attention, the Pay as You Throw (PAYT) defeated for 2021, the Democrat Majority Council (Zalewski, Steele, Cummings and McDermott) and Council Member Gulli passed a budget disregarding a national pandemic and continues placing the burden on the taxpayers and residents during an unknown and challenging time by moving forward with the PAYT for 2022, beginning a reassessment update for homeowners during COVID, increasing an annual garbage fee which began as a temporary fee at $160 per year three years ago and increases to over $190 for 2021.”

Carmella Mantello
Troy City Council President

Mantello also says can’t get behind the city’s decision to suspend that hiring freeze, adding that those positions can wait to be filled until the COVID-19 vaccine is available and the pandemic slows:

Why try to fill those positions in the middle of a pandemic when they haven’t been filled all year?”

Mantello

Madden says that these are important investments that will help improve operations, increase efficiency, and strengthen the city’s financial foundation.

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