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Raleigh Budget Includes Increase In Trash Collection Fees

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council passed its new budget Wednesday.

The council voted against a controversial stormwater fee, but voted to raise more than $4 million by adding and increasing fees for garbage collection.

Garbage collection fees will increase by nearly 400 percent.

Homeowners currently pay $1.30 a month for trash, yard debris and recycling pickup. Under the new budget, homeowners will pay $5 a month, which is expected to bring in $3 million a year.

The city expects to raise just over $1 million by charging apartment complexes for garbage collection for the first time.

The city manager hoped to raise $2.5 million by creating a new stormwater runoff fee of about $3 a month. Council members voted against that fee, but did agree to spend $300,000 on a stormwater study.

Arts and human services groups that faced a 50 percent decrease in funding were spared from budget cuts. The council decided to fully fund their budget requests.

"Given the economic times, it is a good budget. It protects parks and greenways. It's what we can do, given the money we have," Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker said.

The city has a $16 million budget shortfall. If it does not receive money from the state by July 1, road resurfacing and park land acquisition projects will be put on hold.

The increased garbage fee does not go into effect until October.