November 28, 2014


Oberlin seeks state grant to replace garbage trucks destroyed in fire

Oberlin firefighters battle a fire at a maintenance garage Saturday. COURTESY OF CITY OF OBERLIN

Oberlin firefighters battle a fire at a maintenance garage Saturday. COURTESY OF CITY OF OBERLIN

OBERLIN — The city of Oberlin has asked for state help to replace garbage and recycling trucks that were destroyed during a February fire at the city’s Public Works Complex.

The city, with the help of the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District, has applied for a $200,000 community grant through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the purchase of new recycling vehicles and carts.

The grant application was approved Wednesday by the county commissioners.

City Manager Eric Norenberg said while the city’s insurance has paid for the cost of replacing the Public Works Complex, the insurance did not cover all the costs needed to replace the six trucks, which had depreciated in value over the years.

The city’s newest vehicle was five years old, and the oldest was 16 years old, he said.

“We budgeted for two new vehicles this year anyway. However, even with the insurance and budget funds, there is not enough money to replace all six, or even five,” he said.

Norenberg said the city had been working on its Zero Waste Plan, a plan to eventually move to a 90 percent reduction in waste, before the fire occurred.

The plan called for moving to a cart-based system to improve recycling participation.

Keith Bailey, director of the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District, said he has been working with Oberlin to help the city purchase the new vehicles and cart-based system, which has shown favorable, increased recycling results in other cities.

Bailey said the county’s largest recyclers — Elyria and North Ridgeville — have switched over to a cart-based system, which increased recycling fourfold as a result. All of the cities in the county, with the exception of Lorain, have switched to a cart-based system or are in the process of it, he said.

Bailey said that the Ohio EPA considers Lorain County a model of recycling collection and approves of cart-based recycling. He is optimistic that the agency will approve Oberlin’s request for a grant to get the process moving.

“(Oberlin’s) intent was to convert garbage this year, because they have some trucks that are very old. The fire kind of made this process go a little faster than they expected,” he said.

Bailey said he expects that the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District will learn whether the grant application has been approved in May.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • Joe Smith

    So they want the taxpayer to pay for their lack of getting enough insurance or planning for depreciation?

    • SniperFire

      In Lorain County, the first instinct is to use somebody else’s money to take care of your problems.

      • Joe Smith

        They should take the money they get off the recyclables they get from us for free and pay for it that way, but of course you are right.

  • golfingirl

    How about using a service like Waste Management, like most communities now do?

    No need to buy new equipment then. I may be wrong, and they may still need their own vehicles, not sure.

    Or would this jeopardize union jobs?

    • Simon Jester

      “Or would this jeopardize union jobs?”

      Winner winner, chicken dinner.

  • alreadyfedup1

    Typical Statist (liberal) use other people’s money instead of doing the right thing and streamline. Keep big government ALIVE the Obama way.

    • SniperFire

      Seems like nothing happens in Lorain county without a State or Federal grant, or a huge tax increase.

  • wow

    a lot of you people are just miserable, bitter fools. it was a fire. NOT started by anyone black, mind you. sheesh. take a break from reciting what your media overlords tell you to say and THINK FOR YOURSELVES.

    • Simon Jester

      Racist projection much, comrade?

      • alreadyfedup1

        Nobody brought in race except for ‘wow” we kept it STRICTLY political.

        • wow

          you’re right; i can’t argue with that. but you have to admit, your comments are so far from relevant that it’s obvious what you’re REALLY trying to say. i get it – you don’t think for yourself; you repeat what your masters said earlier in the day. have a nice weekend.

          • Simon Jester

            And the Illuminati are poisoning the air via “Chemtrails”, and all Republicans are really lizard people skin changers. Feel free to add any other ludicrous BS you believe in…

        • Simon Jester

          I hear ya, Just addressing the window licker that posted the “black” rant. ( for all the good it does)

  • Steph

    Hey, i know! The Oberlin College owns everything anyway, let them pay for this.