Fairhaven's Board of Public Works is set to vote on whether or not to implement new trash fees on residents and businesses in town.

According to BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado, the idea to charge for trash was suggested by Town Administrator Angie Ellison as a way to make up for a budget shortfall of more than $2 million.

Why is Fairhaven Considering a Trash Fee?

Without an override, property taxes in Massachusetts towns are limited to an increase of 2.5% under Proposition 2 1/2.  While there is a limit on tax increases under the 1980 law, there is no ceiling on the amount of fees that can be implemented.

Like it or not, creating a new trash fee generates a new revenue stream for the town, which, like many other municipalities, is struggling to keep up with skyrocketing costs due to inflation.

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"We're in a budget deficit," Ellison said. "We're obviously looking at all options to increase revenue."

Fairhaven's Board of Public Works will vote on the trash fees at a February 26 meeting.  What the proposal will look like is still very much uncertain.

How Much Would Fairhaven's New Trash Fee Be?

The figure of $100 per household per year was thrown out for discussion as a starting point for the trash fees, but nothing has been set in stone. Similarly, instead of passing something permanent, the board might decide to implement a one-time-only trash fee to help with the 2025 budget.

Do Voters Have a Say in the Fairhaven Trash Fee?

No matter the decision, the trash fee issue will be unilaterally decided by Fairhaven's Board of Public Works. The matter does not need to go before Town Meeting for the new fee to be created.

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