Fall River council passes monthly sanitation fee

The city hall of Fall River, known as Government Center. (Photo by Andrew Adamson, WPRI-TV)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The Fall River city council passed an ordinance Tuesday night requiring households to pay a $10 monthly sanitation fee. The motion passed 5 to 3.

“We now finally have a sound, sustainable budget for the upcoming fiscal year,” said Mayor Sam Sutter in a news release. If the city hadn’t started charging this fee, it faced laying off a hundred city workers, including police officers and firefighters.

The fee will be collected annually at the same time as real estate taxes, City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros told the Fall River Herald News.

Back in January, Sutter told Eyewitness News taxpayers might face a “bitter medicine,” due to debt obligations, pension liabilities and other financial burdens.

“Now we can move forward knowing that we are rebuilding the fiscal health and stability of our city,” said Sutter. He said more cost-saving measures might be forthcoming, as well as economic growth.

Fall River already has a system of “pay-as-you-throw” for trash, which has been met with controversy. Residents must buy purple garbage bags to have them picked up by city trash haulers. Part of the reason for “pay-as-you-throw” was to encourage people to recycle more.

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