City leaders discuss discontinuing trash pickup service to commercial buildings

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — City Manager Ron Carlee asked Charlotte City Council to make a decision about whether the city should continue providing its trash pickup service to commercial buildings including apartment complexes.

"At some point, we need you just to say this is it and let us move on," he told council during a budget workshop on Wednesday.

The issue has been discussed among city leaders for years as Charlotte builds more apartment complexes leading to rising costs to pick up tenants' trash. City officials also argue it is a policy issue, pointing out other cities don't offer the service to apartments.

During a discussion Wednesday, several council members supported making complexes pay for the service, whether its provided by the city or a private hauler.

The move could also mean a savings of $2.5 million to $3.7 million which could allow that money to be used for other services. Public safety is a possibility.

"We have one amount of money to work with. People don't want their taxes increased so we have to figure out a way to cover the services people want us to deliver," said Councilwoman Julie Eiselt.

Councilman Ed Driggs pointed out while the city might save, renters will likely pay more.

"They pass costs through. You are going to see rents go up and it's going to impact the tenants," said Driggs.

Urhonda Phillips already gets assistance for her housing and she said she can't imagine taking on another cost.

"If your income doesn't change but then they are raising the prices then it kind of defeats the purpose of being on program," said Phillips.

Even after a long discussion Wednesday, city leaders did not come to an agreement on this issue.

The conversation will likely continue all the way up until they approve a budget in June.

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