Curbside fees set to start in June
Pinebrook resident Charles S. Marantz says he doesn’t mind adding $36 to his annual household budget to cover Summit County’s new garbage pickup fee. However, Marantz said he does oppose a separate bill to collect it.
"Why create a separate bill and separate charge?" Marantz said in an interview with The Park Record. "It just creates another bill for people to pay. I would just assume if there are some additional costs collected and if you have to increase it slightly, collect it in the property taxes instead of creating a separate category. But don’t create another bill.
"You run the risk of it continuing to increase without folks having much of an input," Marantz said.
Last year, when the Summit County Council approved the 2016 fee schedule for county services, it included a new $36 annual trash collection fee and a $3 increase to the landfill tipping fees. The Solid Waste Division requested the increase to cover the costs of closing the Three-Mile Landfill and development of a new cell.
Wednesday, County Council members are scheduled to discuss how to begin implementing the new fees during a work session. According to a public works report, staff recommends contracting with Republic Services to administer the billing services on the county’s behalf.
"Their company is already set up to send out bills and it made sense from a monetary and logistics standpoint to further extend our contract with them to care of it," said Derrick Radke, Summit County public works director. "With this it opens the door for more opportunities for residents to schedule additional services like a bulky item or extra bag pickup and curbside recycling."
In late June, approximately 18,544 household waste fee bills will be mailed to residents county-wide. The fees are expected to generate about $700,000 annually.
"The landfill’s operations had pretty much broken even prior to the increase for expenses," Radke said. "But what that hasn’t been able to cover is the cost to close the existing cell, its ongoing maintenance or the future construction of the next cell.
"The other side is that our collection contract with Republic Services has been paid for by property taxes up until now," he said. "The council has decided to try and start offsetting that cost with the fees, which will allow us to save a little bit for things like cell closure costs."
Tom Fisher, Summit County manager, said the new fee schedule is part of the county’s overall Solid Waste Master Plan. He said the fees are another step toward making the landfill operations self-sustaining.
"It doesn’t fully pay for it and trash collection will still be heavily subsidized through the general fund, but it is a step in the right direction," Fisher said. "The reason we are addressing it right now is because it took some time to figure out how to implement the fee. The ability to have our contractor who does the collection be the one that is going to be the bill collector is significant because we are not adding staff and it is being paid for through the contract we already have with them.
"It’s a much more efficient way to collect the fees," Fisher said.
Neither Fisher nor Radke said they anticipate an additional increase in fees above $36 in the next couple of years. However, both acknowledged that the fee schedule will be revisited during the 2017 budgeting process.
For more information about the household waste fee, contact the Summit County Public Works Department at http://summitcounty.org/150/Public-Works.
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