I made a trip to the south Austin dump this weekend. Aside from my own personal small dump load that I had from my recent garage cleanup, I had a small amount of debris that I had tossed into the back of my truck from one of my rental properties. Just some scrap lumber and a piece of sheetrock. So it was time for a trip to one of my favorite destinations, the dump in South Austin.
When I arrived, I learned unfortunately that the minimum dump fee for a pickup truck is now $35, and the “unsecured load” penalty is now $20. That means, if you toss a few things in your truck and take them to the dump, and you don’t have a tarp handy with tie-downs (even if the items are heavy items that could not blow out) to cover/secure your load, you’re looking at a minimum $55 disposal fee, even for just one broken kitchen sink (if it’s uncovered). Ouch. If memory serves me, it wasn’t that long ago that I paid about $9-$12 for a dump load. The unsecured load fee was previously $5, so $20 represents a 400% increase in that fee. What has the world come to when it costs this much to get rid of a few things?
Since I have a Commercial Account at the dump, I told the attendant I would just drive up on the scale (which use to be cheaper). She informed me that the minimum commercial load is now $35/ton with a 2 ton minimum, so minimum $70 on the scales plus the unsecured load fine = $90. This, to dispose of a piece of sheetrock, about 10 pieces of scrap lumber, and some misc household stuff. All totaled, about 1/4 of a pickup truck load. I elected to pay the civilian price.
Those of us who manage rental properties and who make regular repairs to properties are going to feel this price sting as our vendors, who regularly dispose of broken things and other stuff, are going to have to raise prices to us. In the move-out letter I send all tenants, I expressly warn against leaving junk piled at the street or left-over stuff in the garage, and inform them there will be a haul-off fee if they do that. Most tenants do in fact leave some stuff to haul off anyway, and then complain about the charge. Now that fee will be even higher and I need to edit my move-out letter to reflect that, and the tenants will be even madder when they see the charge, which increases my chances of getting sued over deposit refunds. Swell.
But, as our do-gooder government, which caused these fee hikes through new regulations and fee increases (the politically expedient way of raising taxes without calling it a tax increase), fails to understand, another result of these ridiculous fees will be a huge increase in illegal dumping and the further financial squeezing of the average middle class citizen.