The board of directors of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association voted to recommend removing or amending the People’s Ordinance — a unique law embedded in the City Charter that mandates the city pick up trash on city streets.
Since 1986, that has meant that the city collects trash from single-family homes but not from apartment or condo buildings or private streets and gated communities. Those multi-family units have had to contract with private companies to have their trash hauled away.
Charging single-family homeowners a fee or cutting off their city trash service and letting them contract on their own with private companies has been on the agenda of many organizations for years. But since the changes in 1986, it has never gotten traction.
The Taxpayers Association move could be the first in a series of interesting steps that might occur before the 2016 vote. Charging for trash pickup or saving the money the city spends on it could help pay for major infrastructure investments.
For as long as I’ve been a reporter here, there have been two distinct attacks on the People’s Ordinance: 1) it created inequity between single-family homeowners who don’t pay a fee and 2) unlike other area cities, San Diego was paying for trash pickup out of its general fund, leaving public safety and infrastructure short-changed while subsidizing the city’s most well-off residents.
“We see the People’s Ordinance as something that creates a subsidy. There’s never been a more appropriate time to remedy a situation that causes inequity, ” said Mark Leslie, CEO of the Taxpayers Association. It was his 47-member board that recommended a change.