It is beyond a doubt that this "fee" is being used to balance the budget. Mr. Ziemak is 100% correct that it is not the town's place to entertain us but to provide services from our tax dollars to the residents. Keep in mind that I'm quite sure the residents will be seeing many,many more fees to come. http://www.nwitimes.com/articles/2008/1 ... 1a4c30.txt
ST. JOHN | Beginning early next year, St. John residents will start paying the town to have their garbage picked up.
The Town Council on Thursday voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance establishing a residential garbage fee.
The $15.82 fee will be added to residents' monthly water bill. That amount will increase to $16.61 in May 2010, per St. John's contract with Allied Waste, once known locally as Illiana Disposal.
St. John resident Doug Ziemak was among a handful of people who commented Thursday during the public hearing about the ordinance.
Ziemak said he disagreed with what Town Manager Steve Kil told The Times -- that St. John never has charged for garbage pickup. Ziemak said residents pay property taxes, which fund the town, and, therefore, garbage collection.
Kil said the cost of garbage collection is not contemplated in property taxes.
In some communities, individual residents contract with waste haulers, he said.
"You just want an easy way to balance your budget, is what you're looking for," Ziemak told the council.
Councilman Mark Barenie explained the town was projecting a $1.7 million budget deficit in its 2009 general fund and imposing a garbage fee would help close that gap.
The town pays about $900,000 in garbage collection. The fee charged to residents will offset the cost. The town will not earn any extra money, Kil said.
Ziemak said the town should find other areas to cut before charging residents the garbage fee. He said the Christmas in the Park event as well as the holiday decorations around town are added expenses. He said the town is not there to entertain people but provide services.
Ziemak also said police officers should pay for their own uniforms, instead of the town paying for them. And he said the town shouldn't pick up leaves or branches, that residents should do it themselves.
He also suggested the council work for $1 to help bring the budget in balance.