LORAIN — It was Lorain Mayor John Romoser’s last day in office Monday, but he made sure to check-off one last item on his to-do list.
Romoser faxed a letter to the county commissioners requesting that they look into an alleged pricing monopoly that Allied Waste has over the trash-hauling market place in Lorain County.
He said he took issue with the county’s trash hauler when Allied hiked rates that he thought were excessive in October 2006 and October 2007 in Lorain, which amounted to an additional $860,000 being charged to Lorain citizens.
“We need to break that stranglehold over the marketplace,” Romoser said. “We’re looking at a city here that has high unemployment and a lot of senior citizens on a fixed income that can’t afford it. I’m just asking (the county) to look into it.”
In the letter, Romoser highlights the fact that Allied Waste controls the county’s only disposal site in New Russia Township and “continues with unchecked rate increases” as a result.
He suggests that a regional effort be made to secure, own and operate a disposal site under control of either the county or other interested cities.
Brian Parsons, a member of the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District Policy Committee, said adding another landfill to the mix isn’t the best idea.
“I don’t see any reason for the city and county of Lorain to be in the landfill business,” he said. “Lorain has the right to open up the bids, but I’d be surprised if they found a better deal.”
Aggressive estimates put the life of the Allied Waste landfill to about 15 to 20 years, Parsons said, and adding an additional one would require a minimum of 10 years of jumping through logistical and regulatory hoops.
Dave Kidder, Allied’s area marketing manager, said Lorain — which has more trash per home than any other area of the county per week — is charged one of the lowest rates in the county and about a dollar less than residents in Elyria.
“Our prices are very competitive,” he said. “Lorain has a very good price.”
County commissioner Lori Kokoski had not seen the letter as of Monday, but lives in Lorain and doesn’t want to see any more rate increases come her way.
“I look at the senior citizens and residents with fixed incomes and I get angry when I hear about rate increases,” she said.
Romoser said he also requested the city’s law director to draw up legislation establishing trash-hauling rate hikes be approved by City Council before becoming official.
He said he’s had discussions about the topic with mayor-elect Tony Krasienko, who takes office Wednesday and hopes the matter will one day be resolved.
“The fact that it’s started is satisfaction enough,” Romoser said.
Krasienko couldn’t be reached for comment.
Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.