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Miami-Dade trash fees are set to increase for the first time in 11 years, with administrators saying the extra $25 per customer will let the county avoid service cuts and boost spending to combat illegal dumping.
The 6 percent increase in the county’s $439 annual trash fee comes in the middle of Miami-Dade’s epic effort to remove 400,000 tons of debris left by Hurricane Irma — more roadside refuse than the county usually clears in an entire year. But the higher fees taking effect on Oct. 1 for 340,000 households aren’t tied to Irma; the increase was proposed months ago to close budget holes in the county’s $530 million yearly trash operation and boost spending on clean-up squads targeting trash dumped illegally along roads and other public areas. ‘
County commissioners approved the fees on an 8 to 2 vote Tuesday during a meeting delayed from earlier in the month by Irma. Board members used the agenda item to praise the county’s trash-hauling division for its Irma response, including extra hours at county trash centers ahead of the storm to let people dispose of tree trimmings and other debris that can become problematic during a hurricane.
“They were wrapped around corners like they were waiting for gasoline,” Commissioner Barbara Jordan said of constituents emptying trash. “If we had a vote today, I think the public would vote 98 percent for this increase.”
On the commission, the two that voted against the hike were Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Xavier Suarez. Commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Dennis Moss and Javier Souto were not at the meeting when the vote was cast.
Most cities have their own trash operations, but Miami-Dade provides garbage pick-up for homes outside of municipal boundaries. It also has contracts with nine cities for trash service: Aventura, Cutler Bay, Doral, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Opa-locka, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and Sunny Isles Beach. Residents in those cities pay the county garbage fee.