O.G. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Why doesn’t the city pick up the trash at my condo? I pay the same taxes as everyone else in this town. I have no children in the schools and, thankfully, I have never needed to use city services like the police or fire departments. It seems to me the least they could do for me and my fellow condo residents is to have the trash removed. What do you think?
Mister Condo replies:
O.G., while I agree with you that condo residents tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to municipal services like trash removal, snow plowing, and lighting of their local roads, the reality is that your condominium association was most likely built and approved by the municipality where you live with the provision that these things would be taken care of privately at the expense of the association. There are many reasons for this, first and foremost is that high density housing (HDH) actually does puts an extra burden on the municipality. It is a high number of residents who may require some services of the city, including police, fire, and EMS as well as the more traditional items such as education. The roads are generally private so it is not the responsibility of the municipality to maintain or plow them. Trash removal is also, generally, at the expense of the association. However, that is not always the case. Several associations in the state have actually banded together with their fellow condos and sought remediation from their local municipality. I know of two towns where the local government now provides trash removal as part of the city services to the unit owners. So, all is not lost. I would encourage you to speak with your Board and ask them to begin speaking with the local authorities to see if there is any room for negotiation. While trash removal is not generally an enormous expense any monies saved by the association is potential savings for all unit owners. Best of luck!