Annapolis residents will pay $46 less for trash collection services than they did in fiscal year 2012 thanks to a unanimous vote by on Monday night.
The refund comes in large part due to the privatization of the city's solid-waste removal services, which was passed as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget in June and takes effect Sept. 1.
"We are being a little bit guarded," said Bruce Miller, the city's director of finance.
He said he anticipates the cost to the city from Bates Trucking and Trash Removal, which will handle services going forward, will allow Annapolis to reduce consumer fees even more. But he wants to wait until the bills start coming in.
He said there could still be some adjustments made to service once operations start.
City Manager Mike Mallinoff seconded the two-part drop in fees.
"With this service starting at or around the beginning of the second quarter, we thought it would be prudent to wait a year and see what the costs come in at," Mallinoff said.
Alderman Fred Paone (R-2nd Ward) said he didn't want to wait and see. He proposed an amendment to lower the fee an additional $30 from the current $426 to $350.
He said the reduction in trash pickup to once a week represents a 50 percent cut in service, while the reduction in cost totals less than 15 percent of a resident’s bill.
"All I’ve heard from my constituents is that we are having a huge reduction in service," Paone said. "I think it would mean a lot more to city taxpayers."
"Candidly, I don’t know that this is a good move," Mallinoff said. "We should wait this out and see if there are any adjustments to the plan. What I would hate to do is come back and ask for increases."
Alderman Ian Pfeiffer (D-7th Ward) agreed with Mallinoff.
"I’m sympathetic to my friend from Ward 2's views," Pfeiffer said. "It would be nice to able to say we are giving you a little bit more."
The amendment failed 7-2 with only Paone and Alderman Mathew Silverman (D-5th Ward) supporting it.
Pfeiffer said the debate was about how much money to decrease fees rather than raise them, and said, "I think that’s an important moment we are at here."