Trash pickup plan plays favorites

From Jim Slaughter, 2016 President of the NC Chapter of the Community Associations Institute:

Included in Charlotte’s next fiscal year budget is a proposal to stop trash service for multifamily units. The city aims to reclassify multifamily projects of more than four units from “residential” to “commercial.” The result would be that renters in apartments or homeowners in townhome and condominium associations would no longer receive city trash service, whether it’s curbside roll-out or city-contracted dumpster/compactor collection.

This proposal is exceptionally unfair to homeowners in condominium and townhome associations. Owners of townhomes and condominiums pay property taxes just like other homeowners. Multi-family and single-family owners pay both real property taxes and a $25 annual trash fee. This proposal would require owners of townhomes and condominiums to continue to pay taxes, but not receive the benefits of trash pickup.

If the proposal passes, owners in multifamily developments will have to contract for private trash removal at a significantly higher rate. This reduction in service discriminates against townhome and condo owners and would actually use their tax dollars to subsidize municipal services for owners in single-family homes.

In addition, condos and townhomes often provide more affordable housing options. Owners in community associations benefit from shared costs for certain services, whether for exterior maintenance and repair, water, trash collection, grass cutting, or roof repair. Because of “strength in numbers,” an owner’s payment to a community association for such services as part of their assessments is likely to be much cheaper than paying these expenses separately.

By increasing trash costs just to condominium and townhome association owners, this proposed trash plan is inequitable to residents in multifamily communities and would negatively impact affordable housing as well as the working middle-class.

Jim Slaughter is a community association attorney with the firm of Rossabi Black Slaughter, PA.