More than 86 percent of town homeowners opted to continue getting their yard waste picked up by the town in the first year of the town’s new yard waste fee, town officials said recently.
According to the clerk’s office, bills went out to a total of 7,386 homeowners in February, with a total of 4,093 choosing to directly pay the bill and 2,320 not responding. Those people remain in the yard waste program, with the fee rolling over to their tax bill.
When all is said and done, fees paid to the town will total just over $192,000. The town budgeted to receive $150,000. The proposed 2013 number is set at $170,000.
Then there was a total of 971 property owners — just over 13 percent of all bills sent out — who actively opted out of the program, going through the notarization process to choose not to take part.
The signatures had to be notarized, a process that one Town Board member, Jonathan McKinney, said made it harder for residents to opt out.
Town Supervisor Joe Landry said the number of residents staying with the program shows how important it is.
“This is something that we feel the residents deem important,” he said, “but unfortunately with the tax cap and budgetary restrictions, we had to implement the lawn debris fee to supplement the costs of this.”
The fee covers the weekly pickup of yard waste in the town. Fall leaf pickup continues unchanged for everyone, including residents who opted out of the yard waste fee.
As the program currently stands, residents can opt out of the program each year. Residents who previously opted out will have to renew each year and get another notarized signature.
The reason for that, Landry has said, is to ensure that if residents move, new residents don’t get left out. The notarization requirement has been to ensure that the residents themselves are opting out.