Yiaway Yeh

2005 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2005
Yiaway Yeh Graduate Degree: Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree: American University
Areas of interest: Affordable housing finance, health care finance, public-private partnerships
Mentor: Jim King, Consultant
Agency: Finance Office, City of Somerville
Project Description: Yiaway worked in the City of Somerville's new SomerStat office in the Mayor's office and consulted with the Department of Public Works. The city sought to move its trash services from a line-item expense using property tax revenue, to a resident user fee that captured the actual cost of trash services. Yiaway researched the financing, organizational structure, legal constraints, and made recommendations on how to implement a Pay-As-You-Throw program, based on an activity-based costing analysis of trash services. Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville approved the proposal for a Uniform Container program in the commercial sector and a Basic Service PAYT program in the residential sector, with implementation slated for July 2006. The projected cost savings for the City in the first year of the PAYT program is nearly $4 million.