South Fayette officials are considering a budget for next year that, for the first time, would require households to pay a monthly garbage fee.
Commissioners voted last Wednesday to advertise a draft budget for 2013 that would charge each household $192 a year -- $16 per month -- for trash and recycling collection.
Pickup under the current contract with Waste Management is paid from the general fund.
A year of the garbage fee would generate about $1 million, with the majority going to capital improvements such as paving roads and buying vehicles and equipment, officials said. About a third of the money would be saved in the general fund reserve.
Manager Ryan Eggleston said the budget is balanced without the garbage fee, but the additional income would allow the township to complete otherwise unaffordable projects and purchases.
"This is just taking a realistic look at our long-term needs," he said.
Commissioners hope to get input from residents about their willingness to pay the garbage fee to fund items such as a police car; equipment and vehicles for the parks and public works departments; website, software and phone upgrades; and $500,000 in road paving.
"Everybody wants their road paved," Commissioner Lisa Malosh said.
About $350,000 would be applied to the township's fund balance.
Mr. Eggleston said the township would have to set up a third-party billing system for the garbage fee, and collection likely wouldn't begin until April. That would mean residents would not pay a full year of the fee next year.
The nearly $8.6 million general budget does not raise the property tax rate. The 3.84-mill rate actually could decrease to offset Allegheny County reassessment hikes, Mr. Eggleston said.
South Fayette's current assessed value is about $930 million, an amount expected to increase to more than $1.2 billion after the county increases property values across the township, he said.
"It is much more complicated than a typical budget year for municipalities," Mr. Eggleston said. Final budget adoption is scheduled for Dec. 14.
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.