The recycling industry has changed significantly in the last few years not just in Avondale Estates, but also around the country. The overseas market is no longer buying most reusable materials and the cost of separating out contaminated goods has risen. This shift has flipped recycling from something that brought in money to a growing expense for cities.
Just a few years ago, the City could expect to receive money from selling the recycled materials. Now, City pays not only to pick up, but also pays a $60 per ton usage fee to have someone take it. By comparison the City pays $33 per ton to dump at the DeKalb County landfill. In 2019, an average of 27 tons of recycling was collected each month in Avondale. This new recycling usage fee will equate to approximately $20,000 more in City expenses each year.
In the City, recycling and sanitation collection fees are combined with property tax. This fall residents will see an increase from $485 in sanitation and recycling services to $508 annually. In addition to a $10 increase for sanitation service, $13 will cover new fees associated with single stream recycling as well as a consumer price index adjustment per household assessed by Latham Home Sanitation, the company the City contracts with for this service. Sanitation fees for residents are part of the property tax bill that are mailed out by DeKalb County in August.
Businesses in Avondale Estates will also see changes to sanitation fees. Rather than assessing sanitation fees based on the type of business, fees will be calculated by usage to provide a more equitable distribution between heavy producers and those with minimal needs. Business owners will see a base rate of $895 annually for one can with an additional $190 charge for each additional can. This new structure does not apply to home based businesses or those who receive alternative service such as dumpsters.
Business owners will also see a change in the way fees are collected. Previously, like residents, fees were assessed on the property tax bill. This normally equates to passing the fee on to the tenant if a business is renting the space. New procedures would attach this fee to the occupation tax assessments each March, allowing for direct billing to business owners rather than passing through landlords via rent.
The schedule and level of services are not changing. Residents will continue to receive sanitation collection twice a week and sanitation from businesses will be collected each business day.