Houston City Council approves $1.14 monthly garbage bin fee in attempt to help close budget gap

Houston residents using city trash services will see a $1.14 annual fee on water bills starting July 1. (Courtesy Pexels)
Houston residents using city trash services will see a $1.14 annual fee on water bills starting July 1. (Courtesy Pexels)

Houston residents using city trash services will see a $1.14 annual fee on water bills starting July 1. (Courtesy Pexels)

Houston City Council voted May 13 to approve a $1.14 annual lease fee on garbage bins provided by the city.

The vote on the contentious item was delayed twice as council members discussed finding other options to make up for revenue losses sustained during coronavirus shutdowns. Ultimately, it passed, with council members Edward Pollard, Amy Peck, Mike Knox, Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh and Martha Castex-Tatum voting against it. Council Member Letitia Plummer, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, and Council Member Sallie Alcorn were absent.

The fee will be applied to city water bills beginning July 1 and is expected to generate an estimated $5 million, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Turner, who has previously rejected trash collection fees, pushed for the bin fee as a way to stave off additional furloughs he said could be necessary to help close the fiscal year 2020-21 budget's $169 million deficit.

Council Member Jerry Davis said the solid waste department's strained resources motivated him to vote for the fee.


"You see the trucks that break down, and you see the work and the long hours they put in, and even though there is a certain number of people who don’t want me to support this, I'm getting more calls from people who do," Davis said.

Several council members took issue with the fee and said they believed it would disproportionately affect low-income Houston residents who may have already suffered wage losses from coronavirus shutdowns.

“This is still a fee no matter how you slice it, and we’re asking the public to pay an additional dollar when every dollar counts," Pollard said during a previous vote.

As compared to other major cities in Texas, such fees are not unusual and are often higher. Austin charges $18-$43 per month, and San Antonio charges $15-$28 per month.


MOST RECENT

Houston coronavirus testing
Coronavirus testing: Where to find testing sites in Houston the week of July 6

Here is the latest information on how and where to find coronavirus testing locations in Houston

George Floyd protest Houston
Defund or defend: After years of bolstering Houston police, city leaders consider paths to reform

After protests and forums, what will happen to promises of police reform?

New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rose in Harris County from July 3-5.
Harris County coronavirus count: 2,489 new cases, 13 deaths confirmed over holiday weekend July 3-5

Active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations hit all-time highs in Harris County on July 5.

Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a set of recommended social distancing guidelines June 2 that go beyond what is required by Gov. Greg Abbott. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston mayor recommends limit on gatherings over 10, businesses scale back to 25% capacity

The mayor is recommending businesses scale back to 25% and residents avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

The First Street Foundation's dataset includes a forecast models that anticipate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. (Screenshot via First Street Foundation)
Analysis: FEMA may be undercounting national total flood risk by as much as 70%

The new dataset includes an interactive Flood Factor dashboard that anyone can use to assess the risk of flooding over a 30-year period for any address.

The city of Houston reported the 14-day moving average for testing positivity was at 24.8% as of June 28, up from 15.4% on June 1. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1,249 cases, three deaths confirmed July 2

The city of Houston reported the 14-day moving average for testing positivity was at 24.8% as of June 28, up from 15.4% on June 1.

Houston fireworks display
Here’s how to celebrate Fourth of July across the Greater Houston area

Several Houston-area cities are still planning fireworks shows with drive-in or virtual components this Fourth of July.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going away," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

The Kemah Boardwalk will be open Fourth of July weekend. (Courtesy Kemah Boardwalk)
3 Houston-area amusement properties will be open Fourth of July weekend

The Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Downtown Aquarium Houston are offering a joint weekend adventure pass for $29.99.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Refinancing isn't free:' How to navigate refinancing a mortgage

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

Houston-based Christian Brothers Automotive operates more than 200 locations across the United States. (Courtesy Christian Brothers Automotive)
Q&A: Christian Brothers Automotive CEO talks commercial real estate, essential business operations amid pandemic

The Houston-based automotive company has franchise locations throughout Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona.