Athens business owner Tammy Gillogly, left, and city resident Diana West, center, talk with Athens City Council member Jennifer Cochran at Monday’s City Council meeting. Aaron Payne / WOUB News

Bag Fee Ordinance Tabled

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An ordinance on plastic bag fees was tabled at Monday night’s Athens City Council meeting, but not without more of the public getting their two cents in.

The subject of public comment period at city council mainly centered on a 10-cent per bag disposable plastic or paper bag fee brought to the council by Councilwoman Jennifer Cochran.

The ordinance, up for second reading, was tabled by Cochran during the meeting. Cochran said she wanted to “revise” the ordinance to reflect public comment she had received on the matter. The councilwoman originally brought the ordinance to council in an effort to encourage usage of reusable bags and the switch from plastic.

She and the rest of council got to hear more comment, all in opposition to the proposal.

Athens resident Diana West said her family of five would not be able to afford the extra fee and called it “an unfair fee on just a select amount of people.”

“People have already said they’re going to drive elsewhere, it’s easy to drive to The Plains or to Nelsonville and that’s bad for business in Athens,” West said.

West also argued that city residents already pay a recycling support fee and waste management fees as part of their utility bill.

“Think of positive things, don’t think of punishing the people in their pocketbooks,” she said.

Business owner Tammy Gillogly asked council how her business, Richland Auto Parts, was to keep track of the bag fees in their computerized system. She also called into question asking more money of an area with a high poverty level.

“I don’t want to make financial obligations harder for the working class,” Gillogly said.

Cochran did not give a timeline on bringing the ordinance back to council, but said she planned to work with the community “over the next few days and weeks.”