Charlottesville to spend $20K on reusable bags for those on benefits

In their final action at their meeting on October 17, 2022, Charlottesville City Council held first reading on an item to spend $20,000 to purchase reusable bags for those on federal or state benefits. The 2020 General Assembly authorized localities in Virginia to authorize a 5 cent tax on plastic bags. 

“We along with Albemarle County will be launching that January 1,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “We continue to work closely with the county to make sure that our efforts are in alignment with theirs because our residents move back and forth between the city and the county, we want to ensure that there’s no real concern in regards to understanding what’s different whatever we may be doing so our goal is to try to do it in conjunction with another.” 

The $20,000 is an estimate of what may be required to purchase the bags. The revenue will come from whatever the tax yields when it is collected. Anyone on SNAP or WIC benefits will be eligible to receive up to two bags. 

“It is our desire that we would eventually be able to come back to Council once we have better clarity as to how much is generated,” Sanders said. “There may be a surplus over the replacement of this $20,000 that we might be able to expand bag distribution to other populations that may need that intervention.” 

The funding can also be used for environmental education or litter clean-up. Sanders said the bag itself will be of high-quality material. What does each cost?

“$3.57,” Sanders said. 

This will be on Council’s consent agenda on November 7. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the October 25, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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