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Proposed change could end free trash pickup for some in San Diego

Posted at 8:39 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 11:49:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A proposed change to a city ordinance could end free trash pickup for some homeowners in San Diego.

On Wednesday, City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Council member Joe LaCava are expected to present an idea to the Council’s Rules Committee that would amend the “People’s Ordinance,” a city code first established in 1919.

Under the current People’s Ordinance, most city residents living in a single-family home currently do not pay for trash collection services. However, many city residents who live in apartments and condominiums have to pay a private company for trash pickup.

According to a news release issued by the city, Elo-Rivera and LaCava’s proposed updates to the ordinance include:

  • Ensuring equal refuse collection services for all residents;
  • Closing loopholes that allow Short Term Vacation Rentals, Accessory Dwelling Units, and mini-dorms to exploit free trash collection from the City;
  • Allowing for cost-recovery for refuse collection, transport, disposal, and recycling so the City has the flexibility to provide robust and equitable public services after a Cost of Service study is undertaken; and
  • Safeguarding against attempts to privatize City-provided refuse collection.

The funds collected under the updated ordinance would go into a general fund that could help pay for other city projects such as parks and libraries, or even salaries of city employees such as firefighters.

“The first step in this process is amending the ordinance to allow the city to figure out what the fees can be, and a lot of that will be based on what level of service the community wants. Do they want trash picked up twice a week over the summer? Do they want recycling to come more than every two weeks? Do they want free bins?” Elo-Rivera told ABC 10News in a previous interview.

In a statement ahead of Wednesday’s Committee meeting, LaCava said, "San Diegans are working together on a bold agenda defined by our Climate Action Plan, Climate Resilient SD, Zero Waste Plan, and more. We must update legislation that holds us back from achieving our goals and serving all San Diegans. This Council has exercised bold leadership, directly addressing issues that have been sidestepped for years. Engaging San Diegans in a robust discussion to reform the 'People's Ordinance' will continue the momentum to protect our future.”