Water recedes as it is drained from the San Antonio River Walk. Photo by Scott Ball.
Water recedes as it is drained from the San Antonio River.

San Antonio residents will pay more for plus-sized garbage bins and hard surfaces on their properties after City Council approved two fee changes as part of its 2019 budget.

Council members unanimously approved a fee hike for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department that targets the largest size of brown garbage bins while reducing fees for smaller bins.

Monthly fees for the 96-gallon garbage bins would rise more than $4 from $22.44 to $26.76 on Oct. 1, when the City’s 2019 fiscal year begins. Monthly rates for the medium 64-gallon and small 48-gallon bins would go down 93 cents – from $19.69 to $18.76 and from $17.69 to $16.76.

The idea is to encourage greater adoption of recycling, Solid Waste spokesman Marcus Lee said Wednesday.

Solid Waste is striving for a 60 percent recycling rate in single-family homes by 2025. The recycling rate for the 2018 fiscal year stands at 32.3 percent, Lee said.

Residents of single-family homes will see these charges included in their CPS Energy bills, with the City relying on the electric and gas utility’s billing department to collect the fees. The garbage fees also fund recycling and compost bin collection.

Also on Thursday, Council members unanimously approved an increase in the City’s stormwater fee by 2 percent.

The City charges a monthly stormwater fee to fund drainage projects and work like street-sweeping that reduces the pollution that runs off into creeks and rivers. These charges appear on residents’ San Antonio Water System bills.

The fees are based on the percentage of impervious cover – asphalt, concrete, and roofs – on a property. The formula differs for residential and non-residential properties and is detailed on the City’s website.

City staff anticipates the higher fees will bring an additional $6,088,594 to Solid Waste’s operating and maintenance fund and an additional $1,012,259 to fund stormwater operations.

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.