Lawn debris fee raked out

Nisky residents accepting of new charge, worried about implementation

— Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kasper said the town is relying on the integrity of its residents.

“We have to go on the idea that (residents) are pretty honest,” Kasper said.

Gavin said he would compile a list of residents opting out of the service because he believes it will be shorter. Since the different employees drive the truck regularly, having an easy list to follow will help, he said.

Keith Barney, representing the Mohawk Trails Homeowners Association, brought up a different concern, because in his neighborhood there are 10 homes with one driveway on Nott Street East. The grouping of residents would all be bringing their waste to the street, which he said could make it difficult to determine whose debris is whose.

“I think it is going to be a difficult situation and I’m not sure if it is going to be worth the $30 a month to keep policing this,” Barney said. “I am sure a lot of us are honest and we would do it.”

In the 2012 Town Budget, the board approved a new revenue line totaling $150,000 to be received through the lawn debris fee. Details of the fee became clearer in the months following the budget adoption.

At $30 per resident or property owner, the town would need 5,000 people to not waive the fee to avoid a shortfall in budgeted revenue. According to 2010 census data, the town has 8,645 housing units occupied, with 361 units vacant. Of the occupied housing units, 6,967 (80.6 percent) are owner-occupied. If 72 percent of owner-occupied housing units didn’t waive the fee the quota would be met.

Linda Rizzo, a former Republican candidate for Town Board, said she believed a majority of residents would pay the fee.

“You are probably going to have 80 percent of Niskayuna that wants it,” Rizzo said.

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