WARREN Proposal sparks debate

One of the sponsors called the legislation a starting point.
WARREN -- A proposed ordinance that would prohibit waste collection, disposal, recycling and treatment facilities, transfer stations and landfills from locating in the city is drawing strong opinions on both sides.
The legislation, sponsored by councilmen James A "Doc" Pugh, D-6th, and Robert Holmes III, D-4th, received second reading at a council meeting Wednesday.
"This legislation would cripple our sanitation department," Mayor Hank Angelo said. "It's not only contrary to the operation of the sanitation department, but it would also hamper the operation of the wastewater and water departments."
He didn't elaborate.
Petition presented
Employees at the city's sanitation department presented council with a petition opposing the legislation. The employees fear that passage of the ordinance would put them out of a job because the department would lose money.
"The restoration of this department from money loser to the present situation was the product of many years of planning and the hard work of many people," the petition says.
"It did not happen overnight. But it could all be lost over night if there is no transfer station in the city of Warren any longer."
If Warren Recycling Inc.'s transfer station shuts down, the closest place for the department to take city trash is in Poland, said Robert Hill, one of the workers. The city has a contract with Warren Recycling Inc. for the trash transfer effective through 2004.
The city's small trucks aren't built for that, so to keep operating, the city would have to buy new trucks.
Others in a nearly packed council chambers support the legislation. They're opposed to a household hazardous waste collection site the Geauga-Trumbull County Solid Waste District plans to establish on Enterprise Drive. The site will be near a new LaBrae school.
Other opinions
Perry Nicholas, administrative assistant at LaBrae schools and a city resident, said he remembers when the Trumbull Correctional Institution and Warren Recycling were established, both near the schools. He said he understands that prisons have to be built somewhere and waste has to go somewhere.
"If household hazardous waste has to go in somewhere, can't it go somewhere else, away from the LaBrae schoolchildren?" Nicholas asked.
Angelo said he doesn't like the idea of a hazardous waste collection site on Enterprise Drive either, but he likened the legislation to "shooting flies with an elephant gun."
Council and the administration weren't involved in selecting the site.
The legislation goes overboard and the person who wrote it should have spoken to the relevant department heads before the legislation was introduced, Angelo said.
Pugh countered that the mayor should have spoken to him and Holmes to find out their aims before publicly denouncing the legislation.
He set a health and welfare committee meeting for 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 to discuss the legislation.
Pugh called the legislation a starting point. He said he doesn't want to shut down the sanitation department. He wants to allow it to continue to grow by having the city open its own transfer station.
The city needs a plan for when the contract with Warren Recycling expires, Pugh said. He'd like to see a completely municipal operation. He's also shooting for legislation that would prevent Warren Recycling from expanding and prevent new facilities from coming into the city.

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