Nelsonville Removes Mandatory Curbside Recycling From Proposed Franchise Agreement

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A new draft of a franchise agreement for trash and recycling collection in the city of Nelsonville removes mandates for curbside recycling and for haulers to only use the Athens-Hocking Reclamation Center to dump trash.

According to Nelsonville City Code Director Steve Pierson, the final draft of the agreement has been sent back to the city’s utilities committee. He said it’s unclear if Council will vote on the matter this month or wait until the new year.

Nelsonville City Council had brought forward legislation to require that all residents in the city have garbage collection — something that isn’t currently on the law books. The original proposal also sought mandatory curbside recycling for residents.

The new draft makes curbside recycling optional. Pierson said that residents would also have the option to take their household recyclables and drop them off in roll-off recycling containers at city hall and the wastewater treatment plant for free as they do now.

Another stipulation in a prior draft of the proposed franchise agreement that raised some concerns was the use of the private Athens-Hocking Reclamation Center just outside of Nelsonville (also known as Kilbarger’s Landfill). Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District Coordinator Roger Bail had suggested that the franchise hauler selected by the city be required to use the sole landfill within the solid waste district so the district would receive a $1 per ton tipping fee.

Representatives from Rumpke Waste and Recycling Services — the city’s current hauler — expressed concern about a requirement to use Kilbarger’s Landfill. They stated that they would likely have to increase prices for customers if they were required to use Kilbarger’s. The hauler currently transports trash to Rumpke’s own landfill in Wellston.

In 2012, the solid waste district adopted a $3 per ton generation fee, meaning that no matter where the trash is dumped, haulers must pay $3 for every ton of garbage they collect within the solid waste district.

Councilman Greg Smith expressed opposition to the proposal, stating that residents may not get the best deal for trash service if Rumpke were to win the bid and had to use Kilbarger’s instead of its own landfill in Jackson County. During Monday’s utility committee meeting, Councilmen Terry Koons and Bill Hoag reluctantly agreed to remove language from the proposal that required that trash be dumped within the district. However, both stated that they would rather see the trash go to Kilbarger’s if possible.

The latest draft also proposed a tiered trash collection fee schedule. Residents would be able to pay a low rate for one bag or 32-gallon can of trash. They could also opt for two-six cans/bags per week at a higher rate.

According to Pierson, the city has extended its current franchise agreement with Rumpke for 90 days so that the new agreement can be bid to potential haulers. He said the new franchise agreement would be for two years instead of three as in previous contracts. He said the shorter timeframe would allow the city to evaluate the recycling component of the agreement.

A date has not been set for the next city utilities committee meeting for approval of the latest draft before it is sent to the full city council.