Feb 22 2014

Problems With Hazardous Waste Tax

– Confusion Continues on Proposed New Property Tax Item of $9.55 Per Year Per Residential Unit for Hazardous Waste –

Questions continue to arise regarding the  $9.55 per year  for 10 years charge by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA,) imposed as  a new item on property tax statements.  The tax/ “fee” is be charged to residential properties per residential unit. However, detailed documentation states multiple residential units will only be charged only one unit fee as a single residential property. The justification is that multiple units in one building would generate no more hazardous waste than a single family home. The reasoning conflicts with the plan to tax each condominiums within one building on one parcel with the $9.55 fee.

Can property owners vote against the tax? Not even that is clear. According to the ACWMA, residential property owners may protest the charge by following directions on the protest card sent to all property owners.  Are protests tabulated and does the protest card represent a poll of respondents? 

The rational for the tax/fee is a loss of revenues arising from a reduction in waste going to the landfill and the concurrent weight-based dumping fee. Great efforts toward recycling have been successful, resulting in a major loss of funding from the landfill fees. 

The Alameda County Grand Jury has repeatedly charged the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) with creating an unnecessarily large agency.  Since the entire budget of the ACWMA is involved, information on current allocation of all resources might provide property owners with an informed decision on the necessity of the 10 year $9.55  tax per year fee.

The following information is on the City of Piedmont website:

ACWMA Considers Household Hazardous Waste Fee; Sends Benchmark Report

Piedmont has been informed that the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA), will consider adopting a fee of $9.55 per year per residential unit, collected through the property tax roll, at a public hearing on March 26, 2014. Residents may also comment in person at either the February 26 ACWMA Board meeting or at the hearing on March 26. Both meetings will take place at 3:00 p.m. at 1537 Webster St., Oakland.

For more information on the proposed Hazardous Waste Fee as well as how you can file a protest of this fee, please see the Proposed Household Hazardous Waste Fee page of the ACWMA web site.

Separately, all Piedmont residences should have just received a Benchmark Service Report from ACWMA in the mail. According to ACWMA, “The report shows community by community data on the amount of garbage, recyclable and compostable materials found in residential garbage containers. It also shows countywide data on the amount of garbage, recyclable and compostable materials found in garbage containers for different types of businesses. The report also explains what you can do to reduce this waste.”

Since July 1, 2013, most residents have been paying an annual fee of $1.81 to ACWMA through their waste bill for this report. According to ACWMA, residents have until March 31, 2014 to opt out of this fee for future years. [Despite the inclusion of this statement in the Piedmont notice, it is unclear if Piedmonters are currently being charged this amount.]

For more information on this report, or for instructions on how to opt out of the fee, please see the Benchmark Service Page of the ACWMA web site.

2 Responses to “Problems With Hazardous Waste Tax”

  1. This is the direct link to the online opt-out form:


  2. Stopwaste.org’s response to the 2011 Alameda County Civil Grand Jury final report can be found here: http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=33&recordid=310

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