LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If you live in the City of Las Vegas, be prepared to pay more for your trash pickup.
On Wednesday night, City Council approved a 5% increase to your trash bill starting on October 1. It will add about $2.28 on average to customers' quarterly bill, or about $9.12 per year.
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The $4 million the city expects to raise annually through this trash bill increase will be put in a separate fund.
City officials will spend much of that money on cleaning up homeless camps as well as trash and debris from city streets, storm drains, and vacant lots.
To put the problem in perspective, the city says it has removed about 3,000 tons of trash this year alone compared to just 300 tons of trash a decade ago.
Every council member admits this is a growing problem. Councilman Cedric Crear even warned people if the trash doesn't get cleaned up soon, Las Vegas could end up looking a lot like Los Angeles.
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"This is a public safety issue. It is a public safety hazard," said Councilman Crear.
"We haven't had a major outbreak of hepatitis or anything some other cities have had because we've been trying to keep up as best as possible on this. But if we do not, believe me, we will have outbreaks. We need to clean them up and go into the sewer system and clean them up and that is an issue."
Councilman Stavros Anthony was the only member of city council to vote against raising the trash rate, not because he doesn't believe in cleaning up the city, but because he feels residents didn't get to weigh in on the idea.
"The money we are raising technically has nothing to do with their trash pick up at their house. I just wanted some public input. I wanted to wait a month and let people weigh in on whether they wanted to raise their trash bill and if they didn’t, then we need to consider that," said Councilman Anthony.
Not everyone is willing to pick up the tab, especially when their trash sits untouched.
Kelly Wright says it's been weeks since Republic Services properly picked up all of her trash and it's creating a very stinky, unsanitary situation.
"They were here yesterday morning, but they only picked up one garbage can," said Wright. "It's smelly trash, just nasty, disgusting. Nobody should live in that kind of filth."
Needless to say, Wright is not happy about paying more for a service she doesn't benefit from.
"That’s going to make me mad. I’m not happy about that because they’re going to get out of the truck to pick up homeless people’s trash, but not mine? That's a serious problem," said Wright.
Councilman Anthony says last night's meeting was the first time this trash rate hike was discussed publicly.
At one point, it was opened up for public discussion, but nobody commented in favor or against the proposal.