PEEKSKILL, N.Y. Following a public meeting Thursday, Peekskill officials announced Tuesday they will give condominium associations another month to decide whether or not to continue using the city's garbage removal services.
Seven condominium and co-op complexes have been getting free pickup of their garbage dumpsters for the past 20 years due to an agreement with the city in which developers paid for sanitation equipment.
Since that equipment is no longer in use and the city is receiving less and less property tax per condominium unit due to tax certiorari settlements, the city is looking to help cover the cost.
The main issue, many condominium complexes said, was finding the money to pay for the new fees on short notice since many condominium associations make budgets a year in advance.
"One of the issues is that they didn't have it budgeted and that they weren't aware of it sooner, enough to put it into the budget," said Council Member Mary Beth McGowan, one of several city officials who attended Thursday's meeting.
Acting city manager Brian Havranek said Peekskill was working on a policy to allow condominium owners to pay back any owed garbage fees down the road if they didn't have enough saved to pay immediately.
The condominium associations will have until May 1 to either sign with a private garbage carting company or stay with the city for another year. The condominiums will be charged the city's current fee, $15 per 1.5-yard dumpster container.
The extra time will also give condo complexes a chance to dispose of unnecessary dumpsters they do not want to be charged for.
Several of the complexes have already reached out to multiple private carting companies, which can charge less because they are able operate with smaller crews than the city due to union contracts, according to Director of Public Works Howard Wessels.
Mayor Mary Foster stressed that city jobs would not be cut due to the reduction in garbage pickup since employees would just be assigned to work elsewhere in the city.
"Our work force has been reduced by about 8 percent in the last four years and we have a lot of work to do," Foster said.
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