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Peekskill Condo Owners Facing Trash Pickup Hike

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- After 20 years of having garbage dumpsters picked up by the city, several condominium and co-op owners may have to pay for the service.

The city held a meeting for condo and co-op owners Thursday night at city hall to explain the reasoning behind the proposed $15 charge, which city officials argue is necessary to offset rising costs.

The residents of seven condominium complexes in the city have gotten free garbage dumpster pickup due to arrangements that were made with the city decades ago.

The complexes: Green Acres; Hendrick Hills; Society Hills I and II; The Meadows at Society Hill; The Lofts at Chapel Hill and The Meadows at Chapel Hill, agreed to pay for sanitation equipment or other expenses in exchange for city garbage pickup in response to rising costs from private carting services in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The problem, according to Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster, is that whatever equipment that was purchased for the city is long gone while the city continues to pay for garbage pickup as condominium tax revenue drops. The original agreement between the city and the condominium developers was open-ended, with no end date indicated.

"Even though we acknowledge everyone pays city taxes, the rate by which we're collecting city taxes from condominiums is dropping in proportion to everyone else," Foster said.

Condominiums pay fewer taxes than homes in the city that sell for around the same price, according to City Assessor Denise Knauer. Tax certiorari settlements with condo owners only make that amount drop further, she said.

"These appeals erode the assessment tax base," Knauer said.

Of the 27 condominium complexes in the city, 13 already pay for garbage pickup through the city of private carting companies. The city's current rate is $15 per 1.5-yard dumpster container. The rate has not increased since 2004, according to the mayor. Condo owners can also hire a private company to serve their community.

City officials were planning to enact the new charges starting on April 1, but will continue garbage pickup at the condominium complexes for the time being while they mull over the options, Foster said. The common council will be discussing the proposed fees in further detail at Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting.

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