Monday, February 18, 2008

Commentary #4 Toledo Budget 2008, Refuse Fee

Fred LeFebvre interviewed D. Michael Collins about the proposed Refuse Fee which will most likely be approved to generate additional revenue again this year as it was last year. In all comments about the refuse fee, there is no suggestion that anyone on Council is taking a hard line look at the budget with the plan to live within the means of the projected revenue.

If Mr. Collins is so terribly concerned about the landfill, then perhaps he should look at alternatives such as waste to energy incineration. Waste for Energy

To consider investing in new and additional equipment, containers with micro-chips to verify a resident is recycling is just more government imposing more constraints on the residents. Next, there will be a penalty for any household that signs a waiver stating they will recycle and they don't, -- another fine for the indiscretion. If the budget is complete and we look at 91,000 households, the average cost per year for refuse collection is $124.50 per household. The planned increase in fees would potentially cost each household and additional $120.00 per year unless the resident chooses to recycle, we have yet to hear what that will cost.

City Council must do better, doubling the cost is not acceptable.

City Council must do better.

Notes of Interview with D Michael Collins, 2/18/08, a.m. by Fred LeFebvre, 1370 WSPD radio.
D. M. Trash tax or fee, however you want to look at it.
What is good public policy, I delved into recycling issue.
Joe McNamara and I challenged each other with ideas.
The gist: recycle, no fee. No recycle, $10.00 per month
It’s difficult to capture the whole notion [provided following #’s]
91,000 households in city
32% said they recycling
Reality is 26% recycle not 32% recycle

Fred: How do they check

D. M.: They do not
They do not police the system
I consider [sic saying they will recycle but do not] this misrepresenting the city
We are loosing $100,000 for those who do not recycle
If we are not counting who is recycling, how do we come up with 26%
I went through neighborhoods and checked, I checked for 6 weeks in 3 of my neighborhoods and counted how many recycled. It was closer to 26% not 32%.
27 years for the landfill, $80 million to replace
I want to see recycle at 60% 18000 tons not into landfill
We pay a tipping fee to EPA, $5.50 per ton, removing 18,000 tons out of landfill equals $100,000
Money we receive from recycle will double to $125,000
We create a new cell every 4 years ($4 million per cell), increase life by 15 to 17 months
Looked at Portland, Or, they are hoping to get 70% of community to recycle
I would like 100%

Fred: If that happened, no income

D. M. But that won’t happen

Fred: Who won’t recycle?

D. M. Hope 40% (not hope but realistic) will reject. There would be no minimum requirement.

Fred: How to implement?

D. M. Will have to retool the equipment, less packers, more recycling. It will be a shift in the concept, it must be phased in. there will be a chip in the recylce containers, the city will buy and supply the containers, buy new equipment, we will need to buy new trucks because the city has to go to automated equipment. Right now we have 6 trucks in the recycling system, will have to double, it’s about $120,000 to re-double that #. To micro chip, it’s between $120,000 to $140,000 to equip that brings the fleet up to that number.

Fred: Just sounds crazy, would it be good public policy to privatize?

D. M.: Once you’ve done it, you’ve sold all your equipment, your out of the business, to recaptilize, to go back into it in case you’ve made a mistake, is literally speaking, impossible. You can’t go back into it. The rate of $8.00 per household in Perrysburg is limited to one can.

Fred: Has the city looked into privatization at all?

D. M. I haven’t seen the studies, I’ve been told they have.
The problem you have with recycling is you can go into the first year and have a very apealling number, the 2nd year it may look appealing but the 3rd year you’re over the barrel and you’re going to be at their mercy with privatization.
In Lambertville, they are paying $17.00 per month for controlled refuse pick up and paying within the $17.00 a fee for recycling.
Population on fixed income, all they have to do is recycle and it doesn’t take anything out of their annual income flow.

Fred: Emails & calls -- Don’t have trash to recycle, I take it to Krogers, they don’t like it.

D. M. Not talking about how much volume is in the container, how do we as stewards of our environment, best protect the ecology and also cost defer all these issues to the future? And recycling at that # saves us in a cost deferment millions and millions and millions of dollars, I think is realisticly selfish if we don’t take the measured steps if we don’t increase the lifespan of the that landfill by 10 years because we may not be burdened by that expense, but a generation behind us will and they are going to have to figure out to fix it and it’s not going to be $80 million when the fix is needed.

Fred: At some point that landfill will be filled and our kids will have to look at it.

D. M. What we’re really doing is slowing down the filling of it.
I look at it from an analagous situation, our car is going to have to be replaced, so why change the oil? Because if we don’t change the oil, we’re still going to have to replace the car, we’re just going to have to replace it sooner. And so I use that as a way of using an analogy.

Fred: But you aren’t involved in the cost of my car, if I said I would have to pay a fee if I didn’t change my oil, that would be different. In this case Council is looking at putting a fee to force people to do something that maybe they just don’t want to do. There are people out there that just don’t want to recycle for one reason or another. Not cost effective, don’t believe in it. Being penalized for that belief.

D. M. Not really, they are making that decision. Your penalizing them is you say everybody must pay a fee which is the current program. You have the option of saving $120 a year by recycling. All you need to do is in a bin provided by the municipality, enter you recylables and the benefits are as follows:
· You’re gong to save $100,000 per year on tipping fees (sic EPA) which we pay
· You’re going to increase the landfill life by 9 years
· You’re going to increase the cell life by at least 15 to 17 months.

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