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Posted on: March 8, 2021

A message about 2021 real estate tax bills, trash fee

Municipal real estate tax bills were delivered by mail in mid-February. The Finance Department has received a number of phone calls about the bills, particularly the increased trash collection and disposal fee.

  • J.P. Mascaro & Sons has been the contracted collector of trash and recyclables for residences in the municipality for decades. 
  • After two bid processes, Mascaro being the sole and/or lowest bidder each time, Municipal Council on Sept. 15, 2020 ratified a new five-year contract with Mascaro to continue trash and recycling collection from 2021 to 2025 at a 5-year cost of $20.26 million. (NOTE: The contract from the first bid was awarded: the contract presented in the second bid was more expensive than the first.)
  • Services provided include same trash/recycle service days as before with the following additions starting April 1: There is an increase from two to three routes for Mascaro to ensure full collection on all service days (this does not affect pickups for customers); Two supervisors will now be on routes to resolve issues; Additional crews for better collections and the mandate to cleanup any mess that occurs with collecting the trash from the bins; Twice a year municipal-wide “sweeps” where dumpsters will be located for large trash removal; and residential yard waste pickup will be on the second Saturday of the month and bulk waste collection will be on the first and third Saturday of the month.
  • New trash cans are also being delivered to all customers and must be used immediately (Mascaro will take the red cans upon delivery). 

The contract reflects the rise in the actual service provider cost of providing the service to our residents, including, but not limited to, the cost of new trash bins (delivery started in February) and industry-wide increases in recycling costsThis fee is not set by the Municipality—we simply collect the fees to ensure that trash is hauled.

To accommodate these costs, the fee was increased from $274 to $424 per single-family residence (a single or twin home), and fees for all other properties in the municipality increased to $848 for a duplex, $1,272 for a triplex, $1,696 for a quadplex and $424 for condominiums and exempt military dwellings. These rates were incorporated into the municipality’s 2021 Consolidated Fee Schedule approved by council on Nov. 4

Mascaro is working to get a mailer out to all customers with all relevant information pertaining to trash pickup, recycling, and all other services provided to Norristown residents. This should be in mailboxes later this month.

Reflected in the real estate tax bills is a tax increase as included in the adoption of Ordinance 20-16. Council increased the millage rate from 15 mills in 2020 to 16 mills in 2021. This increase adds approximately $60 for the tax bill of an averagely assessed property. Council used three strategies to address a $2.5 million budget shortfall for 2021 (largely due to loss of revenue because of COVID-19):

  1. Increase the tax rate by 1 mill ($880,000);
  2. Reduce operating expenses by over $850,000; and
  3. The use of approximately $800,000 in fund balance (reserves).

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