Garbage ‘fee’ is regressive
Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
Here we go again with the Town of Smithfield raising money by imposing a new “fee” on residents, as printed in the Fall Municipal Mailer. If the new $72.12 to be added to our real estate (tax) bills for refuse pickup was reported by The Smithfield Times at the time it was decided, I surely missed it.
Back when the town proposed a $10 monthly fee for trash pickup, I voiced my objection on the grounds that the fee would be regressive, falling more heavily on families less able to pay, and that a real estate tax increase producing the same total amount would remedy that. The town then agreeably abandoned the $120 annual fee and instead adopted a 3-cent real estate tax increase.
But now, apparently to avoid the dreaded word “tax,” they have gone back to assessing a new, additional annual “fee” of $72.12. What this means is that a family whose home is assessed at $55,400 will feel a burden 12.5 times as heavy as a family having a $692,500 assessment (both actual figures from Isle of Wight assessment data), which is grossly regressive and inequitable. We can and should do better than this.