FICHTEL: Now is not the time for RTM to reconsider PAYT

Open letter to the RTM from Mark Fichtel, Greenwich

First Selectman Fred Camillo withdrew the Pay As You Throw (PAYT) ordinance.  Despite his proposing (and several RTM committees voting overwhelmingly in favor of) hauler tipping and resident permit fees, a very small group of people on the RTM appear to be trying to resuscitate PAYT for the 2020-21 budget.

Given the disastrous effect the COVID-19 shutdown is having on not only residents, but also on the town of Greenwich’s economic situation, it makes no sense for the RTM even to reconsider PAYT when:

  1. In order to avoid having to drastically raise property taxes, which have historically been used to cover Greenwich’s approximately $5,500,000 municipal solid waste (MSW) costs, a different source must be found to cover as much as possible of that amount.
  2. PAYT will cost each Greenwich household about $180 in bag fees, for a total expense of around $4,000,000, but the town will only receive about $3,400,000 to cover its costs when town revenues are being crushed, because the PAYT vendor will get 15% ($600,000) of the bag fee.
  3. A $110/ton tipping fee on MSW as proposed by First Selectman Camillo would bring in about $4,000,000, with ALL of that going to help the town’s finances.
  4. Though some of the tipping fee increase may be passed on to haulers’ customers, it’s likely that because of competition among the haulers that much of it will not be passed on, meaning a significant savings for residents compared to PAYT’s costs in #2 above.
  5. Some have argued that PAYT will  cost only 2/3 of the $180 shown in #2 above, but that would bring the town only $2,668,000 (or $2,268,000 after the PAYT vendor gets its 15% cut), leaving Greenwich’s finances in much worse shape.  Even at the 2/3rds figure, PAYT would still cost residents more than the proposed tipping and permit fees, while the tipping fee in #3 above would still bring the town $4,000,000.

There may be a time and place to argue the benefits of PAYT for the environment.  This is neither.  Please do not vote to revive PAYT for the 2020-21 budget.

Mark D. Fichtel
Greenwich, CT