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By John Addyman

LYONS (Sep 9 10) -- Wayne Supervisors voted tonight to leave a measure on the table that would have taken the county out of the curbside recyclables-pickup business and left the job to private haulers.

In a public hearing on a local law than would have area trash haulers pick up recyclables and dispose of them at a landfill or the county-owned Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), 16 county residents spoke – every one of them against privatization of recycling in Wayne County.

When Chairman Jim Hoffman asked for a vote to bring the local law to the floor for discussion and vote, five supervisors said “nay” – Dick Colacino (Arcadia), Steve Groat (Galen), Laurie Crane (Huron), Brian Manktelow (Lyons) and Steve LeRoy (Sodus). That left the measure without the two-thirds majority required to bring the matter to the floor.

There was more. The supervisors then declined to accept a $300,000 grant to buy five new hybrid diesel / electric recycling trucks to replace a fleet that is so depleted it cannot meet present needs.

Butler Supervisor Dave Sickerman asked for a five-minute recess to caucus with Hoffman and others, but in the end, the meeting simply adjourned.

“We need to find a way to get a vote on something,” said Spickerman. “We’ve been screwing around with this for four years. I’m annoyed.”

In fact, he echoed a sentiment repeated by many of the residents who spoke, that the county keeps bringing up the matter of privatizing the recycling program, then doesn’t consummate the act. Speaker after speaker said they’d been in the room before, making similar arguments to keep the program.

County Administrator Jim Marquette said discussions on the proposed local law started in February, 2009, and culminated in special reports in August, recommending privatization as a means of saving $750,000 this year and $850,000 next.

But residents said while the county might take less money out of their pockets because of cost savings, the private haulers would erase the gains by charging more.

Jeff Montemorano
“Everybody is going to see a $5 to $15 per month increase,” said Jeff Montemorano. “There are 31,000 potential residential pickups in the county. That’s an additional $1.6 million increase to residents of the county.” He urged the supervisors to go back to work. “These numbers do not add up. Privatization for the sake of privatization doesn’t make sense.”

Edgar Abbott
“A lot of people can’t afford larger garbage bills,” said Edgar Abbott. “The county doesn’t work for a profit; the private haulers do.” He told the supervisors they needed to make a better effort maintaining the recycling trucks properly. “It has not been done in the past,” he said. “If this is the way the supervisors do business, maybe the taxpayers should consider farming out the board of supervisors.”

“Is this a democracy or a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy)?” asked Kim Buell, noting that many of the same people were back before the supervisors again, making the same arguments against privatization.

Lee Calhoun
“Who’s pulling the strings?” he asked. “A lot of people came here tonight to voice their feelings. I hope we’ve reinforced the feeling that democracy is alive in Wayne County.”

Susan Gafrey said the tax money used to support the recycling program (Marquette tabs the subsidy at $1.1 million) is a proper use because it supports the common good, the health and safety of residents. “It’s not easy being green,” she told the board. “But we don’t have a choice for the future well-being of those who follow us.”

Michele Fabrizio
Lee Calhoun, laptop computer under his arm, said he had crunched Marquette’s numbers and calculated that hiring a private hauler to take away recyclables would cost homeowners $225 a year more than now comes out of taxes. “Stop taking money out of my pocket,” he said.

“There’s no real savings to taxpayers (for privatization),” said Michele Fabrizio. “It’s merely a shift.”

“Nobody is more in favor of cutting taxes than I am,” said Art Crandon, adding he felt the recycling program today “has been a good program for the residents of the county…any money saved in taxes will be eaten up by hauling fees. Keep the program intact.”

“This idea was a dead horse last year,” said David Grozvenor. “Give it a fitting burial and be done with it.”

If the supervisors wanted to take privatization to the next level, Mary Joslyn had some further suggestions – homeowners mow their own road frontage, instead of the county doing it…homeowners could shovel snow off their driveways and then clear the road in front of their properties…sheriff’s cars could pick up recyclables on their patrols and take the load to the MRF.

David Stearn chided the supervisors for rehashing the same idea instead of coming up with other alternatives and Mary Torelli, a recycling system employee, said the most successful recycling programs were those supported by a per-bag or per-throw fee.


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  1. Sarah Taft Said,

    Yep looks like it was the same people who are griping about it. apparently they don't read the paper it will be CHEAPER to privatize it. Ontario County does it for $1 more a month that equals $12 a year VS. the $34 we are paying right now with the County doing it.. Hauling and tipping fees are much much cheaper than in years past.

    People need to keep their feelings out of this and look at it with common sense which NONE displayed last night.

    Posted on Fri Sep 10, 07:16:00 AM EDT


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