houston garbage recycling fee

The City of Houston is considering instituting a monthly lease charge for residential garbage and recycling bins — a fee some say is necessary to keep the containers in stock.

On Wednesday, May 6, Houston City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal, which would charge each household $1.14 each month to lease their bins. The fee would bring in roughly $5 million per year for the Solid Waste Management Department.

Mayor Turner has long resisted the idea of instituting a garbage fee and has criticized the notion many times, but Houston is currently the only major Texas city without a garbage collection fee. Austin charges a monthly fee between $25-$50, San Antonio bills residents about $20 a month, and fees go up to $27 a month in the DFW area.

The proposal comes at a time when the city is bracing to deal with an increasing budget gap worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices.

But not everyone agrees with the proposed fee. Councilmember Amy Peck said this isn’t the right time to hit Houstonians with more fees.

“I realize $1.14 per month is not a lot of money for most homeowners, but it is the principle and it is a slippery slope,” Peck said in a press release. “Unemployment is skyrocketing. People are struggling right now with money, health and uncertainty.”

District J Council Member Edward Pollard also came out against the idea, saying that “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.”

Houston City Council was originally scheduled to vote on the issue last week, but decided to postpone the decision until this Wednesday.

What do you think? Is the $1.14 monthly leasing fee for your garbage and recycling bins reasonable or unfair?