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By Jim Hoffman

     At a Special Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, September 28th, a revised local law governing the management of solid waste was adopted by an 11-4 vote. The majority of the Board supported changing curbside pickup of recyclable materials from being handled by the Western Finger Lakes Solid Waste Authority (the “Authority”) to private haulers.  The revised law takes effect January 1, 2011. 

There are issues with the current recycling program that weighed in on some of the decision making:

§       The current law does not provide for curbside service to businesses, mobile home parks and apartments with four or more units - they must use private haulers or drop-off facilities. The curbside collection service should be expanded to include businesses, mobile home parks and apartment buildings which will increase operating cost.
§       The county subsidy needed to maintain the current program will increase to replace curbside collection vehicles.  Five trucks need to be replaced now and several more over the next few years.
§       The Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is 15 years old and will have to be updated or replaced in three to four years.

The change to private haulers addresses these concerns.  The new law also provides options to move to “single stream” recycling, an emerging technology which requires only one receptacle for all recyclable materials. Recyclable materials do not have to be separated.  There have been concerns about contamination with the end product with single stream recycling but this is becoming less of an issue with better technology. Localities switching to single stream have seen that participation rates have consistently increased often as much as one-third. The Authority conducted a review in August 2009 that shows the participation rate in Wayne County is 47.88% of those eligible to receive the service.

The Authority is primarily funded through the county budget at varying amounts depending on the fluctuating value of recycled materials.  The 2010 budgeted subsidy is $1,143,893 out of a total budget of $1,568,896.

The projected subsidy for 2011 without a change in law including one payment for replacement trucks is anticipated to be approximately $1.4 million. With adoption of the new law the projected $1.4 million subsidy for 2011 will be reduced by $850,000.  Education, drop off hazardous waste collection and the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will continue to be subsidized at a cost of approximately of $555,000.   Haulers can drop off dual stream recyclable materials at the MRF at no charge under the new law.

For the average value of a home in Wayne County assessed at $107,000, the current cost per year to subsidize the recycling program is approximately $28 on their tax bill.  However, the true annual cost is higher because apartments, businesses and mobile home parks pay for curbside service but are not permitted to utilize it.   

The Authority was formed in 1986 with Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Wayne County as partners. Seneca and Yates County withdrew from the Authority in 1995. Ontario County remains as a statutory member but does not participate. Each County has its own unique configuration for recycling but all three use private haulers for curbside collection.

Recycling will continue with the new law.  The change in curbside pick-up will require some adjustment over the next several months. 


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1 Comment to "Board of Supervisors Chairman's Monthly Message - for October"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    At budget time we will hear' "Taxes are going up in Wayne County, but not as high as they would have if we had continued curbside pickup"
    Mr. Hoffman, as one of the 11 Supervisors that voted to end curbside pickup, when are you up for re-election?

    Posted on Thu Sep 30, 06:29:00 AM EDT


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