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 Palm Beach County trash fees will drop in 2015-2016

The assessment all homeowners in Palm Beach County pay the Solid Waste Authority will drop by five dollars under a 2015-2016 budget that Palm Beach County commissioners, sitting as the authority’s governing board, approved 6-0 at their meeting Wednesday.

On June 3, the board voted, also 6-0, to tentatively approve dropping the assessment for a single-family household from $175 to $170. That’s a reduction of about 3 percent.

Commercial customers would see a 5 percent to 6 percent decrease. Government entities, such as city halls, have to pay for trash pickup like everyone else, but get a different rate, and theirs would drop 6 percent.

The assessment helps pay for the county’s landfill, recycling plants and other disposal services. It is levied on all homeowners, including those who live in cities and towns with their own trash collection services.

In addition to paying that fee, homeowners in the county’s unincorporated areas pay an additional annual fee to have their trash collected and hauled away. Those collection fees, which are tied to the consumer price index, will rise $1 to $3 a year, depending on where you live. The county is divided into trash-pickup zones, with annual rates ranging from $143 to $212 in 2015-2016.

The authority projects that for the budget year that starts Oct 1, residents will create 3.4 percent more garbage than produced this budget year, mostly because, as the economy improves, people generate more trash. And more trash means the Solid Waste Authority will collect more money in “tipping fees” from the haulers who bring garbage to county landfills.

Commissioner Hal Valeche told colleagues $5 doesn’t sound like a lot, but residents will take it.

“The fact that we’ve passed on some savings is a great thing,” Valeche said.

The assessment will be among the items residents will see later this week when they receive their “Notice of Proposed Taxes” from the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser. Those notices are being mailed Thursday.

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