Voters to decide if city will charge for garbage collection

A San Diego County grand jury Tuesday recommended the repeal of a 90-year-old ordinance that prevents the city from charging residents for garbage collection.

The grand jury recommended that the San Diego City Council ask voters to repeal the 1919 law, known as the People’s Ordinance, and enact a variable-rate fee schedule for trash services.

It costs the city $37 million a year for trash pickup and disposal, according to the grand jury’s seven-page report. The city spends an additional $15.7 million for recycling and green waste.

“The ordinance is inequitable because it provides no-fee trash collection and disposal to some citizens and requires other citizens to pay for the service,’' the report states.

The grand jury found that repealing the ordinance would provide incentives for residents to recycle and reduce the amount of trash they generate and ultimately send to the landfill.

It would also free up funds for the city’s general fund, which San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has projected will face a $60 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

Councilman Carl DeMaio urged his colleagues to formally reject the grand jury’s recommendation. “Instead of imposing a garbage tax, our focus should be on a different kind of waste -- government waste of existing tax dollars,’' DeMaio said. “We should focus our efforts back on implementing cost saving reforms rather than imposing additional tax and fee burdens on our residents.’'

According to a report from the city’s independent budget analyst cited by the grand jury, the cost of trash service would be about $10.60 per month for San Diego households.

For more information on garbage collection, recycling and more visit