Miami-Dade County, FL may combat dumping with garbage fee hike
- Commissioners in Miami-Dade County, FL, gave initial approval to hike the county's garbage fee by $25, boosting it to $464 annually, as reported by the Miami Herald.
- Mayor Carlos Gimenez's initial proposal called for a $19 hike, which would only "stave off cutbacks," according to the Herald. The additional $6 approved by commissioners would be intended to enforce anti-dumping laws.
- If the increase is passed — pending a final vote before the 13 board members — it would mark the county's first garbage fee hike since 2006. In the past, the county had been hesitant to increase collection fees, which led to neglected trucks and staff cuts.
While it is understandable that cities and counties avoid hiking garbage fees for the sake of residents, neglecting the matter for more than 10 years is rather unsustainable, as demonstrated in Miami-Dade. Not only have residents been presented with an illegal dumping issue that has created "nasty, filthy areas," according to Commissioner Dennis Moss, but they were also neglected of Christmas tree pickup and other services that could not be filled by the low-staffed sanitation department.
Hiking garbage fees to combat illegal dumping is only one of many solutions that cities have experimented with over the past decade. Some more dramatic actions have been to enact months-long street closures or penalties of 70 hours in community service, and cities like Philadelphia spend more than $1 million annually to clean up illegal dumping. No one solution has been deemed most effective, yet seeing how much money other communities put into the issue makes Miami-Dade's garbage hike minimal in comparison.
Miami-Dade's efforts to become a cleaner county have extended from residential properties to public attractions. The county recently banned the sale or use of EPS food containers and products within its parks and beaches, effective July 1, and Moss told the Herald that county leaders are hoping to make Miami-Dade "a world-class community."
Follow Kristin Musulin on Twitter