April 18, 2014

Elyria
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‘Pay as you throw’ vote a go in Lorain

LORAIN — At least in Lorain, the time for talking about the proposed, countywide “pay-as-you-throw’’ trash program is over.

City Council on Monday agreed to place the proposal — which hasn’t exactly gotten a warm embrace in the city that generates the most amount of trash — on the agenda for a vote at its next meeting.

The 7-4 vote to end discussion about it came after an hour-and-a-half meeting during which residents and Council members asked questions and raised concerns about the program.

Lorain’s approval is crucial to the plan — as the largest city, its city leaders need to sign on for it to go forward elsewhere.

Council only has until Nov. 9 to pass the plan or, according to state law, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency can force a plan of its own onto the county.

That’s something no one will like, said Michael Greenberg from the consulting firm GT Environmental.
“I don’t think any of these communities will want the state to come in and say ‘You have to do this and you have to do that,’” Greenberg warned the committee.

But Councilman Tony Krasienko, D-at large, told the committee that neither the county Solid Waste Management District, which is promoting the plan, nor Allied Waste, which collects trash for most of the county, have done enough to convince him that the plan will work for Lorain.

At issue, he said, is whether the plan will mean more trash being dumped around the city rather than properly disposed because it limits how much people can throw away in hopes of encouraging more recycling.

He also worried that the bins that will be distributed by Allied Waste will be too unwieldy for the city’s elderly residents, he said.
Krasienko was one of the four Council members who voted against sending the plan for a vote. The others were: David Escobar, D-3rd Ward, Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, and Micky Silecky, D-7th Ward.

“I don’t think the plan gives cities like Lorain that have significant trash problems already other options we need to make recycling easy for residents,” he said after the meeting. “I know I’m not voting for this.”

Allied Waste has maintained that the volume-based system will allow the company to drop to one driver on a route and allow automated trucks to pick up the bins, lessening the company’s worker compensation costs. Company officials have said that at the rate those costs are growing, the current trash collection system is expected to become too costly to continue.

Recently, Allied Waste raised the collection rates for its Lorain customers by $1.85 a month — an increase that new Mayor John Romoser has said is, coupled with previous increases, forcing him to shop around for a cheaper provider.

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.