Memo for fiscal year 2020, updated 2019-02-26

[Archived] Question #13: Can you provide detail as to the line-item cost and benefit of the proposed WasteSmart initiatives included in the proposed budget?


Can you provide detail as to the line-item cost and benefit of the proposed WasteSmart initiatives included in the proposed budget, and the initiatives that would be funded with the additional $10.67 increase in the Residential Refuse Fee contemplated in the “City Manager’s Alternative Option List?” (Mayor Wilson)


The FY 2020 proposed budget includes cost increases for recycling programs but does not fund the identified initiatives in the WasteSmart plan. Those initiatives, which total approximately $200,000, are included in the additional $10.67 increase which can be found on the City Manager’s Alternative Option List. If this initiative were selected by City Council, it would increase the Solid Waste fee from the proposed $406 to $417.  Here is a breakdown of the specific initiatives, their estimated cost, and their anticipated benefits:


The City last adjusted Solid Waste Hauler permit fees in FY 2011. What revenue is included in the proposed budget associated with these fees? What authority does the City have to increase these fees to: 1) offset costs of WasteSmart initiatives 2) offset costs currently funded by the Residential Refuse Fund? What would be the financial impact of such increase scenarios?


The City Hauler fee is associated with the Commercial Refuse program which remains in the General Fund in FY 2020 - only the residential portion of the refuse program was moved to the other special revenue fund.  Therefore, increasing the Hauler fees cannot offset the costs of WasteSmart initiatives because they exist in separate funds.

In FY 2011 the City raised the commercial hauler fee from $150 to $300 for large trucks. While this increase initially resulted in increased revenue for the City, staff has found that over the last two years revenue has decreased. The fee is significantly higher than our closest comparator jurisdiction, Arlington County who charges $150.

The assumption regarding the decrease in revenue is that some of the haulers have reduced the number of trucks operating in the City, and that some are circumventing the fee by paying it to Arlington instead of Alexandria. The current enforcement point is at the Covanta facility where the trucks cross the scale. If a Hauler is collecting trash in the City of Alexandria, they are required to obtain an Alexandria Hauler sticker for their vehicle. Having an Arlington sticker is essentially the same at Covanta as an Alexandria one, as the facility is managed under joint agreement with both jurisdictions.

Staff is meeting internally to develop an increase in enforcement and collection plan to increase the revenue. Staff does not recommend an increase to this fee at this time based on the difficulty in enforcement throughout the City, and the lower fee in neighboring jurisdictions. A higher fee could result in lower utilization of Alexandria permits and lower revenues.

The following table outlines the current drop in Hauler fee revenues.

BM 13 - Object 1

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