FAQs

Waste Collection Fee Program FAQs

Why is the fee being charged on only residential properties of less than four units?

Unfortunately the cost of trash collection is becoming more and more expensive particularly with the impending closure of the City’s landfill and this fee, coupled with several cost-saving measures undertaken by the City, is meant to offset those costs.  

Properties with more than four units and commercial properties are already required to provide for their own trash pick-up, which is why they have been left out of the program.

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How will it be determined who will have to pay the fee?

The Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance used information from its own property databases and tax records from the Assessor’s Office to generate a list of all residential properties in the City. We then eliminated everyone from that list who would be eligible for an exemption based on the information we had at hand (see below for more information about exemptions.)

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How do I know if I will be charged the fee?

If you are going to be assessed the fee, by the end of February 2016 you will receive a bill from the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance along with a Waste Collection Exemption Application. Unless you are granted an exemption by the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance, this bill will be due on July 1, 2016 at which point a late fee will apply. You will receive bills annually in February 2017, 2018, and 2019. The program is set to expire, barring renewal by the Common Council, on December 31, 2019. 

If you wish to confirm you are or are not going to be assessed the fee, please feel free to contact our office at (518) 434-5995 or [email protected].

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Who will the fee be paid to?

The fee will be paid to the City Treasurer’s Office. Instructions for payment will be sent along with the bill for the fee.

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How long will I have to pay the fee for?

According to the terms of the ordinance, the fee program will expire on December 31, 2019. For the time being, however, eligible properties will receive bills in February 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 only.

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Are there any exemptions to the program?

There are five exemptions to the fee beyond the automatic exemption applied to one unit. If you have received notice that you will be charged the fee, it will be up to you to apply for one or more of these exemptions using the Waste Collection Fee Exemption Application. This application will be included with your initial notice and can be accessed by clicking here, or upon request from our office. 
  1. Private Hauling. If you hire a private trash collector for all units at your 2 to 4 unit property, you will not have to pay the fee. Note that the private hauling must be for the whole property. Specifically, property owners do not receive a “free unit” for their property if they opt for a private hauling service exemption.
  2. The Unit is not Being Used as a Residence. If a unit does not require a Residential Occupancy Permit according to Albany City Code § 231-130 because it is not being used as a residence it will not be assessed the waste collection fee.
  3. The Property is Vacant. If the property is vacant and in compliance with the Vacant Building Registry, it will not be assessed the fee.
  4. Age, Disability, Low Income. Individuals who receive an enhanced STAR exemption will not be charged the fee for a property at which they reside. 
  5. All Units are Occupied by Property Owners. In the case of a condominium or duplex, the people occupying distinct units at the property are often co-owners of the property. In those cases, no waste collection fee will be charged for units occupied by property owners. 

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What if my residential unit will only be occupied for part of the year, may the fee be charged on a monthly basis?

Unfortunately, the administrative costs providing and overseeing a per-month fee option were determined to be prohibitive and so the fee applies to all units occupied as residential units at any time in the year for which the fee applies.

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I think I am entitled to an exemption. How do I make sure I get one?

You must apply for an exemption through the Department of Buildings & Regulatory compliance by April 1 of the year for which the fee will be assessed. The Department has an application form for this purpose which will be included with the bill for the fee. The application is also available by clicking here and available upon request from the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance. This application will tell you what documents you need to submit as proof of your entitlement for an exemption.

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What documents are needed to prove I am entitled to an exemption?

If you believe that you are entitled to an exemption from the waste collection program fee, you must submit a completed Waste Collection Fee Exemption Application to the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance by April 1, of the year for which the fee is assessed. The Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance will work with you to help you prove your entitlement. Below is a list of documents which we suggest you submit along with your Waste Collection Fee Exemption Application.
  1. Private Hauling. If you are entitled to the private hauling exemption you should submit a copy of the contract covering the property to be exempted from the fee.
  2. The Unit is not Being Used as a Residence. If you are entitled to a non-residence use exemption because the unit is not required to have a Residential Occupancy Permit according to Albany City Code § 231-130 the owner will have to submit the affirmation included on the back of the Waste Collection Fee Exemption Application form stating that the unit is not being used for residential purposes. *It should be noted that, a unit with an active ROP will be liable for the fee. An ROP may be surrendered by the owner and this, in addition to submission of an affirmation stating that the unit is not being used for residential purposes, will be needed to obtain an exemption. 
  3. The Property is Vacant. If you are entitled to a non-residence use exemption because the property is vacant and fully compliant with the Vacant Building Registry Program as required by Albany City Code § 133-78, you should not receive a bill if your building is properly registered. If it is not registered, you will have to register the building as vacant on the vacant building registry or, if the building is vacant and not required to be on the vacant building registry, you will have to authorize the Department to verify this compliance. Specifically, a building which is vacant but is secured by normal means and in compliance with code for one year does not have to be registered on the vacant building registry. If the building is already registered, the Department and we will confirm.
  4. Age, Disability, Low Income. If you are entitled to an age, disability, income tax exemption exemption then you should not receive a bill. However, errors are inevitable and if you do receive a bill for the fee, you should indicate so on the Waste Collection Fee Exemption Application and the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance will confirm with the Assessor’s Office whether you in fact receive one of these credits. If you do not receive the credit, the Department cannot grant the exemption and you will have to apply to the proper tax authorities to obtain the exemption if you are entitled to it. Once that exemption has been granted, the waste collection fee exemption will be granted.
  5. All Units at the Property are Occupied by property owners. If the units in your building are occupied by owners of the building, you should include with the exemption application proof of residence and ownership for each unit which you do not believe the fee should apply to. 
Please note that the suggested documents are not the only documents you may submit and that you may also submit any documents you believe establish your entitlement to an exemption. 

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What if I don’t own the property for which I am billed the fee?

If you do not own the property, please contact the Department at (518) 434-5995, [email protected] or by fax at (518) 434-6015, so that we may correct the error. If you send a fax, please include contact information where we may follow up with you. Email is preferred.

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How do I submit my waste collection fee exemption application?

Applications must be submitted to the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance by mail or in person at 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard, Albany, NY 12210, by email at [email protected] or by fax at (518) 434-6015.

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How do I find out whether my exemption has been granted?

You will be notified by the Department once we have determined whether you qualify for the exemption. Once your exemption has been granted, you will not have to do anything further; the Department will forward your exemption to the Treasurer’s office which will apply the exemption.

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How long does an exemption last after it is granted?

Once an exemption from this fee is granted, it will last for so long as the grounds for the exemption still exist. If the situation at the property changes (e.g., the Assessor’s Office determines you no longer qualify as low income, or you apply for an ROP for a unit that was previously exempt) the trash fee will be assessed.

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What if I disagree with the Department’s decision to deny my exemption?

After you receive a denial you may appeal the Department’s determination to the Albany Zoning Board of Appeals. However, you will also have an opportunity to amend your application with additional documentation, correct your application, or correct our decision if we misapprehended something in your application denying your application. In order to help with your appeal and prevent error, exemption application denials will include an explanation for the denial.

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What happens if I do not pay the fee?

If you fail to pay the fee within three months after it becomes due you will be subject to a $50 late fee for each additional unit. If you fail to pay the fee within six months after it becomes due, you will be subject to an additional $100 fee, amounting to a total fee of $150 for each unit.

Number of Units

Total Fee

3 Month Late Fee

6 Month Late Fee

 

One

 

Exempt

 

None

 

None

 

Two

 

$180/year

 

+$50 ($230 total)

 

+$100 ($330 total)

 

Three

 

$360/year

 

+$100 ($460 total)

 

+$200 ($660 total)

 

Four

 

$540/year

 

+$150 ($690 total)

 

+$300 ($990 total)


Additionally, if you are not in compliance with the waste collection fee program, you will be liable for illegal trash fees which will be levied by the Department of General Services and may be as much as $325 for each incident. (see Albany City Code § 313-7 for more information).

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