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L.A. City Council approves trash fee hike

August 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The price is going up to take out the trash. The L.A. City Council approved Tuesday a 30 percent increase in garbage collection fees to cover public safety expenses. The LAPD chief is being forced to explain where all that money's going.The cost of trash pickup has some homeowners balking. In 1988, it cost $1.50 per month. Today it's $26, and headed $10 higher for homeowners.

"They are incrementally hitting a certain segment unfairly for what services we're getting," said property owner Bob Padgett.

It was an appeal from the Los Angeles Police Department that pushed the steepest hikes. LAPD Chief William Bratton said he needed funds for 1,000 new officers.

An audit by City Controller Laura Chick brought an outcry from anti-tax activists.

LAPD used $47 million to hire 366 police officers. Yet nearly double that amount, $89 million, was used for other increases to the LAPD budget.

Kris Vosburgh heads the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

"They keep selling us police, police, police, every time we turn around. It's not all going for police. Much of it is going for raises and benefits to city employees, who are the best paid in the nation," said Kris Vosburgh, executive director, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

Chief Bratton took on critics Tuesday as he announced a drop in the crime rate.

"What the H difference does it make if I get a 1,000 more cops if they're not getting crime down?" asked Chief Bratton. "Every dime that they're spending on that trash fee is ultimately resulting in fewer victims of crime in this city."

Now to balance the city budget, the council approved the latest increase, with one dissent.

"The school wants to pass a bond measure, community colleges want to pass a bond measure. People are throwing their hands up and saying, 'When is enough enough?' I'm saying no, I'm not going to support this fee increase," said L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine.

No one is quibbling about the results of LAPD's spending, but critics say it was wrong to tell taxpayers the increase was solely for new officers.

"If they needed some of the money for police cars, they just should have said so. Stop treating voters and taxpayers like they're stupid," said Kris Vosburgh.

 

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