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City Council Postpones Vote On Denver Bag Fee Proposal

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DENVER (CBS4) – After several hours of discussion and public comments, the Denver City Council decided to postpone their vote on a proposal to charge fees for plastic bags.

The postponement was made in part on Monday night because Mayor Michael Hancock has threatened to veto the proposal. City councilmembers are now hoping to come up with a different solution.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega sponsored the proposed ordinance. It would impose a charge on customers of 5 cents for each paper or plastic bag at grocery and convenience stores. Two cents would go to the retailer and 3 cents would go to the city of Denver as revenue.

Many argue the fee is an extra burden for low income families. Others say it’s a necessary fee to encourage the reuse of bags and make Denver more sustainable.

More than 20 people spoke to the council about the proposal during Monday’s meeting. A CBS4 crew was there as two citizens sounded off from very opposite sides of the coin:

“I oppose this ordinance on the grounds that it is unconstitutional not to put it before a vote of the people. It nickels and dimes the residents,” Wendy Warner said. “It (would result in) a loss of business to the city, health risks, increased water use and impact our less fortunate residents.”

“We just went through some horrendous downpours. The bags are still stuck on the fences and the trees. These bags are around for a long time,” John Davenport said.

The City Council says it hopes to figure out a way to put more money towards recycling programs in neighborhoods that need it the most.

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