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Gainesville city commissioners change waste rates to flat cost

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:36 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -In a Gainesville city commission meeting, the Office of Equity and Inclusion presented their solid waste service data analysis within the city. Conclusions from the analysis found the previous charge rate is inequitable for communities of color.

Based on the fixed fee for recycling and yard waste and a variable fee for garbage, data found the city is overcharging areas that generate more trash and use recycling and yard waste less. Areas such as East Gainesville with high populations of people of color and low-income are those affected under the Pay-As-You-Throw program.

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The city commission approved a flat rate of $24 for all customers, no matter how much trash a household produces.

“In the process of all that, we’re having an equity discussion and we are having a should have, along with that, a sustainability discussion. Last week’s meeting addressed part of that. It brought forth some very valid and deep concerns that we need to address. That we need to work through.”

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It’s a decision, commissioner Harvey Ward voted for. He’s calling for commissioners to reconsider their decision.

“if the issue is that some parts of our community....Have you thought about getting a smaller one and saving some money, that’s a thing we can do.”

Local groups like Zero Waste Gainesville are against the flat rate. In a statement to TV20, the group said there are ways to make pay-as-you-throw more equitable because it benefits the environment and can save people money.

In a Zero Waste subcommittee meeting, a motion brought by Ward was unanimously approved to have the city commission completely reconsider the decision to change prices.

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