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Volume 6 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 23

Opinions of Counsel index

Garbage collection (financing by tillage) - Village Law, § 4-412:

The village board of trustees is empowered to fund garbage collection through the general village tax or as a special charge or assessment against the real property benefited.

Section 4-412 of the Village Law empowers the village board of trustees to “take all measures and do all acts, by local law . . . expedient or desirable for . . . the safety, health, comfort, and general welfare of its inhabitants. . . .” The cost of garbage collection by a village may be included either in the general village tax, or imposed as a special charge or assessment according to a fixed scale of charges as on a contractual basis (8 Op.State Compt. 291).

If the board of trustees chooses to fund the collection of garbage on an ad valorem basis, the funding must be included in the general village tax (23 Op.State Compt. 771). All taxpayers must be given an equal opportunity to take advantage of the collection, and no objection may be made if one taxpayer has a greater amount of garbage to be removed than any other taxpayer. Additional charges may not be imposed, nor may a taxpayer be unreasonably restricted in access to the service (Sperry Rand Corp. v. Town of North Hempstead, 53 Misc.2d 970, 280 N.Y.S.2d. 600, aff’d, 29 App.Div.2d 968, 290 N.Y.S.2d 864, aff’d, 23 N.Y.2d 666, 242 N.E.2d 745, 295 N.Y.S.2d 490). The village may not assess and render service to residential properties unless it does the same for commercial properties on an equal village-wide basis (24 Op.State Compt. 33).

The board of trustees may alternatively choose to fund garbage collection as a special charge or assessment against the real property benefited. Where such a service charge is used, no maximum or minimum would be set on the amount chargeable (23 Op.State Compt. 771). The charge may be based on the amount of garbage collected, or it may be imposed as a flat rate; however, assessed valuation may not be used as a basis for the scale of charges (24 Op.State Compt. 33). The rate set for removal of garbage from business places may be different from the charge for such removal from dwellings, provided the charge in each case is reasonable (8 Op.State Compt. 291).

May 20, 1977