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Waste Management

Waste Management Services

Issue Overview

Local governments have long been perceived as responsible for providing waste collection and disposal as an essential public service. However, waste management services have increasingly become the target of privatization efforts by local officials seeking to reduce or eliminate costly obligations from budget line items. Reductions in revenue sharing by states have forced some localities to drastically pare back spending and turn to administrative fees to raise revenue. 

As an Owner or Operator, How Does this Affect My Business?

Municipalities are increasingly excluding apartments from the waste collection services that rental housing owners, operators, and developers fund through property taxes and impact fees. Additionally, local governments are assessing service fees on apartments as part of recycling mandates in order to help policymakers achieve ambitious climate goals, such as zero waste. These requirements result in rental housing providers and their residents subsidizing single-family waste collection and disposal while also paying private sector companies for the same services. 

Some jurisdictions are instituting franchise systems in which localities negotiate and enter into long-term contracts with one or more service providers. These providers are granted exclusive rights to operate in designated sections of the municipality, stripping owners of the ability to negotiate with private waste haulers on price and terms of service. This disadvantage in bargaining power results in owners and operators paying an assortment of extra fees, such as access and distance charges, which ultimately result in higher costs for residents.