BFI seeks scaling back of garbage fee increase

The Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste District delayed a vote on the fee increase for a few days.
WARREN -- Browning Ferris Industries officials came to the Trumbull County commissioners Tuesday, asking that a $2-per-ton garbage fee increase be scaled back.
Brent Bowker, general manager of a five-county region of BFI, told the commissioners at their planning meeting that the $2 increase was too much. It would cause BFI to raise garbage rates by about $1 per month to most of its Trumbull County residential customers, and much more for many businesses, he said.
Bowker said he thinks the fee increase, proposed by the Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste District, would cost a big commercial business such as the Kraft Maid plant in Middlefield about $50,000 to $60,000 more per month.
On Wednesday, the waste district's policy committee met to pass a resolution to begin the ratification process for its 15-year plan, which contains the $2 fee increase. Too few members attended, however, and the meeting was tentatively reset for 11 a.m. Friday.
At the commissioners meeting, Bowker asked whether the fee could be reduced. Commissioners said they were just learning about the fee themselves and didn't have an answer.
Explaining the plan
Bob Villers, district director, said the $2 fee would generate about $659,000 annually in Trumbull and Geauga counties. Chardon, Warren, and Trumbull and Geauga commissioners have veto power over the plan.
The main benefit of the new plan, Villers said, would be the hiring of a police officer in Warren and one deputy each in Trumbull and Geauga counties who will write citations for waste violations such as having junk cars, littering or illegal dumping.
Currently the county health department handles such matters, but its procedures take a long time because the health department cannot cite anyone, said Frank Migliozzi, health board environmental director.
Villers said the plan also calls for adding six more drop-off sites: two in Warren, one in Niles, one in Liberty, one in Newton Township, and one in a northern Trumbull County area. The fee would also replace some of a $165,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant the district lost last year.
Must meet deadline
Villers explained at the waste district's meeting that the plan is already on a "tight schedule" and needs to be approved quickly to meet a March 2007 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency deadline.
For the plan to be in place, townships, cities and villages representing at least 75 percent of the county's population will have to approve a resolution supporting the plan. At that point, the EPA will have 90 days to review it, Villers said.
If the waste district doesn't approve a plan, the EPA will write one for the district, Villers said, which would take away local control. The EPA has already taken this step in seven other waste districts in the state, Villers said.
The plan will pick up where the district's original 10-year plan, written in 1997, leaves off, Villers explained.

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