LORAIN – City Council passed the controversial “pay as you throw” trash plan Monday, just two weeks after rejecting it and slamming the lid on millions of dollars in recycling grant money for the city and the rest of Lorain County.
Lorain`s approval gives the county Solid Waste Management District the green light to implement the volume-based trash plan countywide since state law mandates that the largest city in the county must adopt the plan.
The rest of the county – with the exception of most of the townships – already had OK`d the plan, as had the county commissioners.
With Lorain`s endorsement, the plan will go to the County Solid Waste Policy Committee for ratification at a meeting later this month and then to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for final approval.
“I`m extremely happy,” said Brian Parsons, a member of the county`s Solid Waste Policy Committee. “The Ohio EPA has said this is a model plan that we can be proud of, and I`m happy we can take the county of Lorain into the future with a very forward-thinking recycling plan.”
The policy committee designed the program in an effort to make people recycle more by limiting how much trash they could throw away.
Cities have two years to pick a plan that works for them to accomplish the goal, and the vote Monday by the Lorain Council didn`t make a selection – it simply signed the city onto the plan.
Some of the options include requiring customers to fit their trash into a specific-sized bin or having residents buy stickers for their trash bags that are pay per volume. Cities also have the option of picking 900 residents to test various programs.
The Council voted 7-to-4, with Councilmen Tony Krasienko, D-at large, Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, Greg Holcomb, D-6th Ward and Craig Snodgrass, D-8th Ward voting against it. The same group – with Schuster, who was absent – voted against the plan earlier this month.
Voting for it were Councilmembers David Wargo, D-1st Ward, Phil Betleski, D-2nd Ward, Micky Silecky, D-7th Ward, David Escobar, D-3rd Ward, Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward, Dan Given, D-at large, and Kathy Tavenner, D-at large.
Wargo, Betleski and Silecky all voted against it last time, while Edwards missed the last vote.
Wargo said he changed his vote because some questions he had about the program had been answered over the past few weeks, including a misunderstanding he had that the bins were the only method being offered. He also learned that Allied Waste, the city`s trash collectors, would help elderly residents by hauling the trash receptacles to the curbs when needed. Krasienko said he remains a dissenter because he didn`t feel like the program will work in Lorain.
“I still think it puts the city at an unfair bidding advantage if we want to do business with any other trash collector by setting parameters that we have to bid out,” he said. “We also never got assurances that costs would be affordable and that illegal dumping would not occur.”