New trash fee would restore recycling cuts
By Peter H. Milliken
Early next year, Mahoning County officials will evaluate proposals to enact a waste-generation fee of either $1.50, $2 or $2.50 per ton to be paid by trash haulers for all waste generated in the county and landfilled in Ohio.
The haulers would pay the fee to the landfills, which would send the money to the county’s recycling division.
The new fee would be in addition to disposal fees of $1.50 per ton for waste originating in the county or out of state and $3 a ton for Ohio waste originating outside the county, which the division already collects from the county’s two active landfills.
On Tuesday, Lou Vega, county recycling director, presented the three possible amounts for the new waste-generation fee to the county’s solid waste policy committee, but the committee made no recommendation on which fee level should be adopted.
The committee will again consider the issue at its next scheduled meeting at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 7 in the Oakhill Renaissance Place auditorium.
Any new generation fee would have to be approved by the governing bodies of communities representing 60 percent of the county’s population and by Youngstown City Council and the county commissioners.
Vega presented the options after telling the committee the recycling division suffered a major financial loss when the Central Waste Landfill in Smith Township closed last year.
That landfill generated about $677,000 in revenue for the division in its final year of operation, Vega said, noting that some waste that would have gone there went to the county’s landfills, but most went to landfills elsewhere after the closing.
With an estimated 238,000 tons of landfill-bound waste generated annually in the county, Vega told the committee the $1.50 per ton fee would generate some $357,000 in new revenue; the $2 per ton fee would generate $476,000, and a $2.50 fee would generate $595,000.
A new generation fee would enable the division to restore cuts in programs, such as the recycling drop-off sites, leaf recycling and well-water testing near landfills in 2015, he said. The $2.50 fee would enable restoration of all cuts, he added.
A $2.50 per ton fee would add about $2.30 a year to each household’s trash-collection costs if all of that fee were to be passed on by trash haulers to their customers, Vega said.
Before she decides what, if any, new fee she favors, Carol Rimedio-Righetti, chairwoman of the county commissioners, said she wants to hear the opinions of trash haulers concerning such a fee and its impact on their business.
Earlier this fall, the committee approved a $2.3 million budget for 2014, not including any new fee.