Published DateTo the editor,
The Laconia City Council is considering a new tax under the guise of a user fee called Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT). PAYT is nothing but a scam — double taxation which claims the program will save taxpayers money by increasing revenues.
This is how the recyclable program works according to an article by Shira Schoenberg in the Concord Monitor on June 27, 2009, when the City of Concord was considering the same PAYT program: "The way the program works is the city has a contract with the South Carolina Company called Waste Zero. Waste Zero manufactures the bags and recruits stores to sell them. Consumers then pay $1 for a 15-gallon trash bag and $2 for a 30-gallon bag. The stores get none of that money. Instead, the stores must send all the money they collect from the bags to Waste Zero, which takes a cut and gives the rest of the money to the city. Mark Dancy, president of Waste Zero, said his company typically keeps 20 to 25 cents for each large bag."
Lets look at some of the propaganda put out by those in Laconia city government — City Manager Scott Myers, Mayor Michael Seymour, Councilors Henry Lipman, Matt Lahey and Bob Hamel — who are in favor of this trash scam.
In an article by John Koziol in the Laconia Citizen on March 9, City Manager Scott Myers, "calculated that Laconia could reduce the cost of curbside trash pickup by $567,000. He assumes that 378,000 PAYT bags would need to be sold at $1.75 each, which would generate $661,500 in revenue. The revenue would cover the cost of the city buying the bags and their disposal." Lets assume the cost to buy the bags from Waste Zero is 25 cents a bag X 378,000 bags = $94,500 that would = $567,000 in revenue.
In an article in the Laconia Daily Sun by Michael Kitch on February 12 — "Lipman Irate over Bestway's Recycling Proposals" — Archie St. Hillaire of Bestway Disposal Services who has the trash pickup contract with the city says that, "PAYT generally boost recycling to near 40-percent of the total volume of solid waste in order to reach rate recyclables would have to be collected weekly, increasing the annual cost of collection from $125,000 to $215,000." That's an increase in cost per year of $90,000, taking the assumed revenue of $567,000 minus $90.000 = $477,000 real revenue. What is the cost of disposing of 378,000 trash bags? What is the cost to administrate this program? Remember all revenues come from the taxpayers.
Let's look at the supposed savings. In an article in The Daily Sun by Michael Kitch on March 8, "PAYT is projected to save $286,000 by diverting recyclables from the solid waste stream and spare $156,000 in funding from property taxes." This $156,000 is what the taxpayers are going to save after they pay $661,500 for Trash Bags. Which means this Pay-As-You-Throw Scam is going to cost the taxpayers $505,500 a year.
Even if this proposed enterprise fund were true, the saving on your property tax bill would only be Pennies per $100,000 on your tax bill.
Renters will be hurt the most from this scheme; they pay property taxes through their rent. The city doesn't receive any money from the collected recyclables.
The next step in this scam is trash metering. The City of Laconia runs two enterprise funds, Water and Sewer which offer the residents the best quality at the lowest prices. PAYT will force us to pay $1.75 a bag for a product only worth 13 cents a bag.
The answer is to run the recycling truck every week and the recycling numbers will increase.