Final election results released Thursday made official what had become clear in recent weeks: Voters approved San Diego’s Measure B, which ends no-fee trash pick-up for most single-family homes in the city.
Supporters of the measure say its success is a big win that will give the city as much as $100 million a year to spend on other priorities and might let it encourage more recycling with “pay as you throw” programs.
Measure B was approved by 203,223 voters and rejected by 199,384 voters, giving it a margin of 3,839 votes. Support came from 50.48 percent of voters, with 49.52 percent opposed.
The measure had trailed in early vote counting on election night and didn’t surpass 50 percent of the vote until an update one week later. Since then, as more votes have been counted, the lead for Measure B has grown with each update.
The final voting results also show that voters officially approved Measure C, which lifts the city’s 30-foot building height limit in a targeted area near the sports arena in the Midway District. Measure C got support from 51.14 percent of voters and was opposed by 48.86 percent.
The success of Measure B ends a two-tiered trash system in San Diego that forces businesses and owners of apartments and condos to pay private haulers to pick up their trash, while most single-family homeowners pay nothing beyond their property taxes.
The measure allows San Diego to establish new monthly fees for trash pickup at single-family households. An analysis unveiled Aug. 15 by the city’s independent budget analyst says they would pay between $23 and $29 per month.
But bills won’t start coming for roughly two years. The city must first pay a consultant roughly $1 million to complete a cost-of-service study, which would determine a fee structure and how discounts might work for low-income people.
“It’s a really positive thing for San Diego,” said City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, who spearheaded Measure B. “What we’ve done is unlock the city from a very, very outdated, very irresponsible and very unfair policy that was restricting our ability to manage our solid waste system in a sustainable and responsible way.”
Elo-Rivera and Councilmember Joe LaCava recently launched outreach efforts to gather public feedback on what services the city should offer under a revised trash policy.
Measure B is expected to generate as much as $100 million a year in new revenue for San Diego that could be spent on libraries, parks, firefighting and other city services. Elo-Rivera said providing free trash pickup to single-family homes was crushing the city’s finances.
“It was having massive budgetary impacts and really putting us in a box,” he said.
Critics say the Measure B ballot language was misleading and that single-family homeowners will get angry when they start receiving bills.