Rubbish removal from residential condominium units

Rubbish removal from residential condominium units

First: let’s be clear – residential condominium units are single-family residences. Like a single-family detached house, they can be eligible for a 25% Homestead exemption as an owner-occupied single family residence. Unlike single-family detached residences, single-family condominiums are “excluded” from receiving municipal rubbish collection.

Prior to 2015, single-family residences received a separate bill for rubbish removal. The administration at the time felt it was beneficial to not send a trash collection bill to residential properties, and rather to include in the cost into the general budget, thereby raising the tax bill for “every residential property.”

This resulted in residential condominiums – that were already paying for rubbish removal in their HOA fees, now paying an additional cost to have rubbish removed from all other 1, 2, and 3 family houses.

This is not just a fairness issue, it is discriminatory.

In a presentation to the City Council, I shared what the public works director had stated at a workshop that the city was nearing their limit for the annual amount of rubbish that can be disposed of at the landfill. If the city goes over that limit (cap), the cost per ton would about double. So if the city were to collect rubbish from the condominium complexes, it could put the city over the limit.

This reason should also not be a reason to penalize single-family residential condominiums unit.

Since we are only directing our petition for rubbish removal to be the same as for all single-family residences that are owner-occupied, we are not including what could and would be a benefit for income producing properties, although the city does pick up rubbish from three-family houses that are owner-occupied and likely have rental income.

It isn’t practical to have the city place and collect 250 trash bins at the city’s largest condominium complex. And because the city cannot afford to have the additional rubbish disposed of at the landfill, the two options that the city has are:

1. Remove the cost of trash collection from the tax rate and issue separate bills to those using this benefit (as it used to be prior to 2015)

2. Offer a $200 per year tax credit or rebate to each single family residential owner-occupied condominium unit that doesn’t receive municipal trash collection.

I believe that that option #2 is best, since the mechanism for a tax rebates is already in place, and could easily be facilitated.

According to the city, there are 646 single-family residential units not receiving municipal rubbish removal.

Using the $200 per year figure (for a tax rebate) which represents the cost to the city for each trash collection stop, the financial impact would be $129,000. This would compensate the 646 residential condominium owners and make them equal to all other single-family residential property owners.

The amount is easily justified as it represents the cost of just buying and demolishing one blighted property.

Richard A Monteiro

President, Tower Heights

Condominium Association

Woonsocket