Friday, July 16, 2010

Where do Your Property Taxes Go? Solid Waste Management

A Recap of City of San Antonio revenues and spending. So $1,074.42 of your property taxes goes to the City of San Antonio.

The City of San Antonio receives revenues from several sources: Property taxes (25%), Charges and fees (20%), Revenues from Utilities (17%), Grants (usually federal) (15%), Sales Tax (14%), Hotel/Motel Tax (4%), Other Taxes (Short Term Rental Tax, Bingo Tax, etc) (2%), Fines (Library Fines, Traffic Tickets) (1%), Miscellaneous (1%), Intergovernment (0.6%), Permits/Licenses (0.4%)

The 2010 Budget for the City divides general fund expenditures in the following ways: Police (36%), Fire/EMS (26%), other services (Aviation, Community Initiatives, Historic Preservation, Solid Waste Management, Military Affairs, etc) (11%), Convention, Tourism and Culture (9%), Streets and Infrastructure (7%), Environmental (5%), Parks & Recreation (6%), Agencies (4%), Library (3%), Health (1%), Municipal Courts (1%), Neighborhood Services (1%), Economic Development (0.5%), Animal Care (0.5%). I will take you through each of these items in separate posts. If you feel that you have a better way to spend the money you can post your suggestions on the online Budget suggestion box for the 2011 budget.
(For links to all items in the CSA budget, see past posts.)

I know, who cares about trash. But just as protection is a fundamental function of government, without trash removal, a city wouldn't be able to function.  Not long ago the city of Naples, Italy was dealing with an all out war over garbage.  Garbage was piling up in the streets for weeks because their landfills were overflowing and they had no modern incinerators to burn it.  People were protesting in the streets and the military had to come in to remove the garbage because the sanitation workers were on strike.  Not only is trash unsightly and smelly, streets overflowing with trash is a public health hazard.  When it rains the rotting sewage gets into the water table and can cause all kinds of lovely diseases from dysentery to cholera. This is particularly sad because even the ancient Roman generals knew that in order to keep their soldiers healthy they needed to keep their camps clean.

The Solid Waste Management Department collects all types of solid waste from trash, to hazardous waste, to recyclables, to large bulk items.  With the new Mission Verde initiative the city has tasked the Department with a goal of recycling 60 percent of all solid waste by the end of 2020.  Right now if you have one of those handy dandy blue recycling cans you can recycle from 60 to 80 percent of your garbage, all types of paper, metal and glass food containers, all plastics with those triangle recycle labels, cardboard and food boxes.  For a full list of what can be recycled check here.

The Mission Verde initiative has also tasked Solid Waste Management with encouraging plastic bag recycling, using reuseable bags for shopping and composting.  Composting is another way to recycle, but you do it at home and it's a great way to make cheap fertilizer for your garden.  If you have too much brush to put in your compost bin you can take it to the Brush Recycling Center.  There is a small fee and don't forget your CPS bill and ID.  The Brush Recycling Center also sells mulch for 3 cents a pound.

Household hazardous waste can be dropped off at the permanent site at 7030 Culebra on Fridays and Saturdays.  Be sure to bring your CPS bill and a photo ID.  For a list of items they collect look here.  They also have a seasonal center at 1800 E Bitters that is open 4 days a year, check here for dates and times.

Brush and large item pickups at your home are done twice a year.  Check here for your next brush collection and how to prepare it for pickup.  Fleamarket regulars follow the brush schedule, so don't be surprised if you put out a couch or a TV and it's gone before the pickup.  That's fine with me, after all it's recycling.

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