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Mayor Turner to keep trash subsidy for Houston neighborhoods

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HOUSTON – The city of Houston has announced Monday its decision to keep subsidies under homeowners associations that opt out of city trash collection services.

Under the program, which began in the 1970s, the city pays a monthly $6 per household subsidy to homeowners associations that contract for more expensive trash collection service from private haulers.

Houston officials said eliminating the subsidy could potentially save the city $3.5 million a year, but only if the homeowners groups stuck with their private haulers.

“Many of the neighborhood associations have indicated they will request city collection if the subsidy is abandoned,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “As a result, we are now looking at increased costs as opposed to the savings that had originally been anticipated. Therefore, it no longer makes sense to pursue this at this time. We can balance the budget without it.”

Elimination of the trash subsidy was one of several options put forth to help close a projected $160 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1.

City Council will consider the budget on May 25, a full month earlier than normal.

Turner has requested early approval to send a strong message to the credit rating agencies about the attention the city’s fiscal challenges are getting from City Hall, according to Houston officials.