Baltimore Can’t Make Weekly Trash Pickups Even With $631M DPW Budget
The Baltimore Department of Public Works, well-funded with a $631 million budget, can’t find the time nor the resources to make weekly recycling pickups, despite a legal mandate to do so.
A local group, Concerned Citizens of Baltimore, has joined a lawsuit against the Baltimore mayor and city council, alleging a biweekly pickup of trash to be a breach of the Baltimore City Charter, which guarantees weekly service. If successful, this lawsuit would compel the city to reinstate its weekly pickup service.
Baltimore’s Department of Public Works certainly isn’t short on cash, but blames staffing shortages for the pickup delay. The Department is one of the most well-funded in the city, with a total budget of $631 million in 2023. The waste removal and recycling segment specifically had a budget of $38.7 million.
Open The Books investigated Baltimore Public Works payroll and found workers’ compensation has grown exponentially. While their headcount from 2011 to 2022 remained relatively flat, payroll increased from $84 million to $141 million. Adjusting for inflation, that $84 million should have increased only to $103 million, meaning salaries have far outpaced inflation.
Concerned Citizens of Baltimore have also pointed out that the City of Baltimore received $641 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which could have been used to supplement the Public Works Department and ensure recycling service continued weekly.
When a major city like Baltimore can’t use hundreds of millions of dollars to guarantee a service as simple and fundamental as recycling, how can it tackle bigger issues like crime and debt?
The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com
This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.