See which San Diego residents can start paying for trash pickup
As Election Day approaches, San Diegans will have the opportunity to repeal part of a century-old law that prohibits the city from charging for garbage collection.
The San Diego City Council has added a popular ordinance to the Nov. 8 ballot asking voters to allow the city to reimburse customers for the millions of dollars it spends annually on garbage collection services. If the voting initiative, Measure Bwins the election and the council later decides to impose a fee, city analysts estimate that property owners who have been receiving free trash pickup will begin paying a monthly fee of $23 to $29. Read our analysis of why this estimate is probably low.
Single-family homes, if located on public streets, will be subject to new garbage collection fees if voters allow the city to charge for the service, which is now free. These homes dominate most areas of San Diego, from the more affluent waterfront communities to the less affluent on the south side of the city, and make up the majority of the city’s existing customer base.
This means that residents of the area with different income levels and racial demographics will feel the impact of the change in legislation and the possible introduction of a new garbage collection. Some single-family homes, such as those in gated communities, are not on city service routes and do not receive free trash pickup.
Multi-unit residential buildings, such as apartment complexes, however, are exposed in a different way. They are likely already paying private haulers to pick up their trash.
Some opponents of the vote say those residents also contribute to the city’s tax revenue, which now covers the bulk of the city’s waste management costs, but unlike many of their neighbors, they don’t get the benefit of free trash pickup. Other critics say single-family home owners pay property taxes that already cover garbage collection.
Meanwhile, supporters of the city’s scrapping of free trash collection say the change will ensure everyone pays for the service and create greater fairness in waste collection services.
The following maps show readers which communities in San Diego are most likely to face potential garbage collection fees if voters decide to allow the city to charge for garbage collection services. The map shows the territory of public planning of the city.
The maps show where single-family and multi-family buildings, such as apartment buildings, are concentrated in the city. These housing characteristics give a rough indication of who is likely to be charged a pickup fee and who is not because they are likely already paying a private carrier.
Click on the arrows to see where different home types, income levels, and communities of color are concentrated. For a detailed breakdown, hover over each district or click on it.
See which areas may charge for garbage collection:
Single-family homes make up the majority of the housing stock in most of the city’s neighborhoods.
The new garbage collection fee for these residents will affect a range of communities, from white, affluent to low-income and predominantly black and Latino communities.
- The city’s two largest neighborhoods, which also have the first and third largest numbers of black residents, have the highest share of single-family homes. Encanto and Skyline-Paradise Hills combined have more than 100,000 residents, and single-family homes make up 80% or more of their housing units.
- Of the 10 areas with the highest concentration of single-family homes, seven are among the wealthiest, reporting incomes of $200,000 or more (including Del Mar Mesa, Rancho Encantado and Torrey Pines), and six of those 10 are among white communities in San Diego. City services may be difficult or unavailable in some areas of these communities, according to the city’s garbage collection route maps.
Communities with the highest number of apartment buildings likely have more residents who already pay for garbage collection. Some are also home to San Diego residents who reported the lowest household income.
- Three of the six neighborhoods with the highest share of Hispanics and Latinos — City Heights, San Ysidro and Barrio Logan — also have the highest share of multifamily housing units, accounting for more than half of their total housing stock.
- Communities with the highest concentration of multifamily housing also have the highest concentration of households with annual incomes under $30,000 and under $15,000. These neighborhoods include Barrio Logan, City Heights, San Ysidro, and Downtown.
Not sure if you’ll be affected by garbage charges? Check out our guide here.
Jill Castellano contributed to this report.
This project was created with the financial support of the American Press Institute.
News: Based on facts observed and verified directly by the reporter or reported and verified by knowledgeable sources.