Trumbull Democrats
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Tim Herbst’s Hidden Tax Increase

Tim Herbst’s Hidden Tax Increase

A look at First Selectman Tim Herbst’s proposed 2017-2018 budget reveals something odd right off the bat, on the 26th page of this 462-page PDF, in a report on the revenue side of the budget.

It projects 2017-2018 revenue from the “Disposal Area”—the town’s trash transfer station—of $1.3 million, an increase of $1 million over revenue collected from the transfer station in the current fiscal year.

A $1 million increase in revenue in a single year sure stands out. You wonder what’s driving that huge projected increase. Well, the word from municipal-finance insiders is that the town is going to begin collecting a fee from trash haulers for garbage collected from Trumbull residents. Right now those haulers only have to pay a fee for trash collected in Easton and Monroe, which also use the transfer station.

But wait. If trash haulers have to pay a fee for using the town transfer station, it is a 100 percent certainty that they’ll pass that fee on to their customers in Trumbull.

Presto! A hidden tax increase on the people of Trumbull, which raises Tim Herbst’s proposed 1.9 percent tax hike about another point—to about 2.5 percent. And this fee is a duplicitous tax. For one, it means the first selectman isn’t leveling with the people of the town. He’s falsely representing the tax increase as lower than it really is. Second, it’s locked in in perpetuity. Even if Grand List growth and other factors result in tax fluctuations, this fee is forever—there’s very little chance it will go away in subsequent years. Third, it’s just one more fee in a fee-fatigued town. We have fire-district fees, sewer fees, sports-participation fees, building and zoning permit fees.

What’s it all mean? Well, $1 million in new revenue means that haulers have to divvy that amount up among the households in Trumbull that get their trash hauled away—as opposed to taking it to the transfer station themselves. If 10,000 households in town use carting services, then that $1 million means an additional $100 per year per household. Or, about an additional $8 per month. Naturally, if there are fewer households to split the money among, the per-household rate will be higher. Or people who self-dispose of their trash will start paying their own tipping fee.

For folks on a fixed income, $8 per month isn’t nothing. The least Tim Herbst could do is level with our residents.