Friday, April 18, 2014

Want to pay to have your garbage collected? UPDATED

There is a real possibility, if the commission gets their way. There will be an informational meeting April 21, 2014 in the commission chambers, starting at 6:00 PM.

Here is what is on Commisioner Fraasch's blog:

Anyone wondering what this Pay As You Throw potential garbage program is about? 
Please join the ESB as they host a Q/A with representatives from WasteZero, the largest Pay As You Throw company in the US.  All are welcome and no RSVP is required.
Monday, April 21st at 6pm in the Municipal Building.
Please come out and learn about this programming and if the Commission implements the program how it will affect you.


This will affect every resident of Mt. Lebanon. Please don't say that you didn't know about it. You've been warned.

Update April 24, 2014 3:57 PM Waste Zero Presentation 


Anonymous said...

This will be a double "take" of money out of your pocketbook.

Garbage collection is paid for out of your local municipal taxes which are deductible from your federal taxes.
When they switch to PAYT the fees will no longer be considered a local tax and therefore not deductible on your federal taxes.

A hidden double whammy!

Anonymous said...

Nationwide, studies of the application of user fees to fund municipal services have shown that their popularity and use varies by region. Municipalities in the South, West and Midwest employ user fees and service charges to a much greater extent than other areas of the country; user fees are least popular in New England. Larger communities rely more heavily on user fees than do smaller ones. In total, local governments derive about 90 cents in charges and fees to every $1 raised by taxation, according to the ICMA.


The advantages and disadvantages of user fees versus property taxes to fund municipal services need to be thoughtfully reviewed before making a choice of one or the other or a mixture of taxes and user fees. From two reports by ICMA, the previously mentioned A Revenue Guide for Local Government and the MIS Report of December 1992, the following advantages/disadvantages of user fees were gleaned.


 · User fees reduce wasteful consumption of public services by heightening the public's awareness of the cost of providing a service.

 · User fees, because they are based on consumption, give municipal officials a better idea of the level of service to be provided. This has the effect of reducing the tendency of government officials to expand services or facilities to meet a perceived need or increased demand.

 · User fees are more equitable than taxation since they are paid by the user, not all taxpayers. Those using the service pay proportionally to the benefit they receive; those who don't use the service, don't pay.

 · User fees provide a flexible source of revenue to fund specific goods and services. The amount charged as a user fee is restricted only by the demand for a service and the cost of providing it. The greater the demand (more users paying fees), the greater the revenues. Revenues from property taxes, on the other hand, do not have that direct link to the fluctuating demand for services.


 · Some municipal services have an overriding public benefit that precludes user fees which would create a burden on low-income individuals. Those who are least able to pay may have the greatest need for public services, e.g., public education.

· Services which are paid for by user fees need to be quantifiable - broken down into units for pricing and the benefits should accrue only to the buyer. Public safety, for example, is mostly preventative; therefore, it would not be fair to assess it only to the users. Beneficiaries of the service would also be difficult to identify.

 · Opponents of user fees feel that the existing methods of taxation already provide, or should provide, sufficient revenue to operate local government and that user fees are just a sneaky way of having "backdoor taxation."

 · User fees seldom cover the entire cost (both direct and indirect costs) of a municipal service. Some fee-based services that are touted as being self-supporting may, in fact, not be.


 · Some municipal services are made more expensive because of the administrative costs associated with collecting the fee. [somebody's probably going to make money or get a cushy job here in the bubble]

· Unlike property taxes, user fees are not deductible from federal or state income taxes."
[Washington and Harrisburg politicos are greedily hoping PAYT becomes a reality since they'll see more money coming their way in the long run without having to raise taxes!!!!]

E. T. Gillen said...

Municipal Planner, Keith McGill is the staff liaison for the Planning Board. He can be reached at I would also copy the commission at

Anonymous said...

Don't you wish conducted some really useful and simple polls that actually provided us with some information on issues in the community rather than the idiotic one they're currently running?

How about:

Do you favor artificial turf at Middle/Wildcat Field?
_ Yes
_ No

Do you want PAYT trash collection?
_ Yes
_ No

Anonymous said...

Nah, that'd be too easy!

Anonymous said...

Here's another question.

Since apparently 1/3 of MTL registered voters are Republicans and with all five MTL commissioners being Democrats, does the MTL Republican Committee feel under any obligation to represent the views of their party at any of the municipal discussion or agenda sessions?

E. T. Gillen said...

I am at the meeting and there are eighteen people here in the audience. There are TWO of us who are not in favor of PAYT.
Where the hell are you guys? All the people that I have spoken to don't want to pay for solid waste collection. Is there anything that you care about?
I am recording the meeting because no staff member came to video tape it.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, 90% of your bloggers are all talk and no action, behind the curtain, blowhard cowards in fact. This has been proven repeatedly over the 2 + years you have been reaching out to everyone. Hardly anyone shows up at meetings, contacts their Commissioners or any elected officials, or show up at the polls and vote twice a year.

I retired from this futility and disgust with residents and government after trying to make a difference for a number of years. I am anonymous because I was subjected to and suffered from retaliation and harassment back in the day.

Anonymous said...

7:10 I experienced the same thing as you.
Until people other than the usual stawarts like Elaine decide to get involved this is a lost cause.
Sorry Elaine, the fact that you're essentially sitting alone bears this out.

Anonymous said...

My email to the commissioners:

My family is opposed to PAYT unless there is a millage reduction to offset the increased costs to the taxpayer. We already pay for garbage collection through municipal taxes, and if the commission moves forward with PAYT, we would be paying for collection twice at our current millage rate.

Even with a millage reduction, I believe this system would encourage residents to dump trash in abandoned lots and public park garbage bins in MTL and elsewhere to avoid paying the fee. This would increase the municipality's huge rodent problem, as well as the municipality's costs for maintaining such areas in a sanitary manner.

In a time of using a 'surplus' budget to pay for turf - which I also don't support - and the school district's proposed millage increase, it seems to me that this is an unnecessary attempt back-door tax increase on MTL families.

If your goal truly is to raise recycling in MTL rather than redirecting the tax dollars that currently pay for garbage collection to other projects, then providing free, large recycling cans, education, composting bins, etc would be welcome alternatives to PAYT.

Anonymous said...

I am actually ok with this PAYT. I like your blog and appreciate it but I don't agree with you on everything.

E. T. Gillen said...

I believe the commission will vote on PAYT in July. If residents are content being charged another fee, I guess there is nothing I can do about it. Since you're all so rich, I guess it doesn't matter to you.
Stormwater fee, newcomer's tax, use of overtax money to pay for toxic turf, commissioners lying, presidents of our local govt. treating shareholders rudely, arrogance, double counting at $36 million over on the district side - Mt. Lebanon seems to have a high tolerance for corruption.
But keep blaming it on one political party or the other, waiting for elections for change, or claiming ignorance. Don't ever take responsibility for how we are governed.

Anonymous said...

If you're referring to the comment about the MTLRC at 6:32, that wasn't to infer that the RC is to blame... only asking whether they are still active in the way our municipality is being run and whether as a party they have any interest in it.

Anonymous said...

This outfit worked out just fine for Charleston:

Anonymous said...


There is no more Republican/Libertarian/Free-Market alternative than the Pay as You Throw program.

Collecting equal amounts from all citizens no matter the amount you use is as socialist as it gets.

I am all for the pay as you throw.

E. T. Gillen said...

9:20 PM, they are not collecting equal amounts from all the citizens. The higher the assessment value of a property, the more collected in taxes.

Anonymous said...

That may be true 9:20, but is PAYT the most convenient and intrusive intrusive garbage collection plan.

Just how will this PAYT be implimented? Do I need to drive to the municipal building to pay for stickers on anything I wish to throw out beyond the minimum?
Will I find strange garbage bags mingled in with mine overnight so some scofflaw avoids paying extra PAYT fees?
We do seem to have a group of nameless people that don't like paying their parking fines. Why would they pay garbage fees?

Anonymous said...

I'm on the edge of giving up on this town. I tried to talk my kid out of a field sport today, explaining these issues with respect to the turf, and s/he said "well mom, this turfing is going to happen with all sports. it's just going to keep happening". My other child, also a field sports player, basically said, "let's move" and got on a bike and posted fliers.

I grew up with tremendous appreciation instilled in me for nature and caring for the environment. My kids have the same orientation.

So here is my opinion on the ESB:

Do they not see the bigger picture? They might get PAYT but their only going to be throwing out synthetic turf that is placed on open spaces.
If the ESB really cares about the environment, I think they should get off of PAYT and FOCUS ON THE TURF. That's it -- nothing else -- FOCUS ON THE TURF. The money charged for PAYT is somehow going to result in more TURF, anyhow. Why do they continue to trust the process when they see what has happened??

If this TURF goes in, even with the DECEPTION/LIES by Kristen Linfante, the ESB has failed. They not only should tell their story of being lied to, but they should also demand that the project does not go forward without public forum and re-vote in the SUNSHINE.

Every board in Mt Lebanon should be thinking about how to protect their goals/initiatives because they can't trust 4/5 commissioners.

By the way, I have emailed commissioners, attended meetings and met Elaine. I don't want to hear that I am a slacker when even my kids post fliers.

E. T. Gillen said...

Thank you, 10:42 PM! We need more people like you!

E. T. Gillen said...

I am sorry that I moved this post under the Keeping It Real post. There are many new Lebo Citizens readers, thanks to the flyer. I don't want them to get confused, so I put Keeping It Real 2014 back at the top.

Anonymous said...

ESB did speak publicly and Elaine even posted the statement here which includes the lies, distortions and concerns about turf. ESB has attended every discussion meeting but NO ONE ELSE is showing up from the public to share concerns about this project. The ESB has one problem a majority of the Commission has voted for the project. ESB is appointed by the Commissioners to represent the municipality so members are helping with the educational forum on the 30th but not in an official capacity as ESB members. When residents don't go to Commission meetings and raise a stink the Commission doesn't care nor can the ESB say they are speaking on behalf of resident concerns either.

E. T. Gillen said...

I uploaded the podcast to the ESB's Waste Zero meeting.

I want to thank Commissioner Kelly Fraasch for trying to locate a staff member to record the meeting. This is the only complete recording of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

8:50 AM, the ESB was not created nor the members appointed to represent the Municipality by any stretch of the imagination. Where did you get this idea ? The answer is important. Please refer to the Administrative Code (Chapter 1 of the Mt. Lebanon Code) and carefully read section 125 and then section 140 for the ESB specifically.

The responsibility of the ESB, as an Advisory Board, is to independently provide findings of fact, opinions and recommendations to the Commission. The ESB has neither the responsibility nor the authority to literally represent the Municipality other than in repeating, referring to or clarifying already existing policies and ordinances of the Municipality that cover subject matter undertaken by the ESB. The ESB is absolutely not a mouthpiece or straw man for or a tool of the Municipality whose job it is to promote the leanings or predispositions of a few or majority of elected or appointed public officials without independent study, public review and agreement. The ESB is entitled to respectfully disagree with the Commission, staff or public if they collectively, as a majority, believe otherwise. The ESB, as a body or by a board authorized member, is entitled to voice their majority opinions in or at any venue. And the Commission is under no obligation to accept, agree with or adopt ESB findings, opinions or recommendations either.

Whoever misled or misinformed you on this should be corrected.

Anonymous said...

it would seem that we will pay fees or lose services all along the way until the commissioners all get their pet projects funded

this is not about "affording" any service, it is all about what they want to have with no regard to who pays for it

this is the same commission whose own members feel it is just "fair" to tax other people's homes as much as possible but who see no inconsistency in protecting their own (unfairly low) home assessments

when do we get some office holders in this town who care about the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

This is concerning:

"ESB is appointed by the Commissioners to represent the municipality so members are helping with the educational forum on the 30th but not in an official capacity as ESB members"

Please Mt Lebanon, stop trying to tell people that the minute they are appointed or elected to some board, whether its the PTA, school board or a muni board, that you have to check your opinions at the door.

Diverse opinion should be welcomed. This sounds like intolerance to me.