On Wednesday October 12th a gathering of about 75 residents assembled in the Community Room of the Fire House to hear the details of the curbside recycling issue. Trustee Chairman Tom Calcei began the meeting by introducing Portage County Solid Waste Management (PCSWMD) director William G. Steiner II. Mr. Steiner gave the crowd a preview of the program and then opened the floor for questions.
Recycling is mandated by the Ohio EPA. In order to be in compliance, each political subdivision must recycle in one of two ways: curbside pickup or by providing an accessible dumpster location. Steiner said that his agency had sent out cards to the approximate 2,200 residences in Suffield and had received replies from 786 of them. Sixty percent (475) of the households surveyed wanted to go with curbside recycling, and forty percent (311) wanted to keep the dumpsters or not recycle at all. It appeared from the mail survey that the community is leaning heavily toward curbside recycling, and with an objective analysis of the sentiment at this meeting, it would appear that curbside recycling is likely in our future. The township trustees will weigh the facts and make their informed decision, probably at the next trustee meeting. If they decide to go with curbside recycling, they will enter into a formal agreement with the PCSWMD.
In the meantime, Steiner was asked about forty questions, which he answered honestly and to the best of his ability. The biggest questions in many of the residents minds dealt with the cost of the program, how the billing would operate, and whether they could opt out of the program. Steiner said that the program is mandatory in the sense that whether you used the recycle containers or not, you will pay for the service. He said that in other parts of the county, they have had these programs and they sent out about 20,000 invoices a year. This is a nightmare to send out the bills and make collections. Because of this he had consulted with the Portage County Treasurer Brad Cromes and the Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito and they agreed that the fees for curbside recycling could be collected once yearly in the property owner's tax duplicate. Initially, the cost will be $2.25 per month, or $27.00 per year. Thus the property owner will pay the fee, not someone renting a house or apartment. Steiner said that landlords will likely pass along this expense to the renter, but that is solely their choice. He also stressed that the $27.00 year cost is a service fee, not a tax. Some in the crowd disagreed with this position.
Some of the concerns of the residents dealt with specific situations. Steiner urged residents who have unique situations, such as ditching along their roadway or long gravel drives, to contact him and he'll arrange to come out personally to your house to find a solution.
Don Monroe asked how long the $2.25 per month cost would stand. Steiner said that the initial contract would be for five years and that the cost would be re-evaluated each year. He seemed optimistic that with good participation from the residents, costs could be contained. Tom Calcei pointed out that about six years ago when this issue arose in Suffield, the cost for the PCSWMD curbside recycling was about $6.00 per month.
Residents would keep their trash haulers, as PCSWMD does not pick up trash. Curbside recycling pickups would be every other week. Change of scheduled pickups will be posted on the front page of PCSWMD's website (portagerecycles.com) and the Suffield Township website. Steiner was unable to give the exact dates for pickup at this time. Residents would have to get their containers out to the curb by 5:30 AM on the day of pickup. For those who want to recycle, but do not want to drag the container up and down the driveway, recyclables can be put in a clear plastic bag and placed on the curb. If they are in a black or non-transparent bag, the bag will be treated as regular trash and not picked up by the PCSWMD. These bags are not provided by the PCSWMD. Trustee Dave Vartenuk said that he purchases strong clear plastic "contractors bags" in the 55 gallon size at BJ's. We'll try to get the names of some other stores that stock clear plastic bags and post them to this website later. If the township decides to go with this curbside recycle program, target date for commencement is November 2016.
As a side issue, Steiner mentioned that county residents could take documents to the Portage County District Recycle Center at 3588 Mogadore Road, Brimfield, to be shredded. This is a FREE service. He suggested that if you have a large amount of shredding, to call ahead as an appointment may be needed. Always difficult to properly dispose of are oil-based paints and varnishes. Steiner said that about the only place in the coutny that will accept them is the Habitat For Humanity Store at 1510 South Water Street, Kent, on Tuesdays through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Steiner bragged about his website, and with good reason. We encourage you to visit PortageRecycles.com, most of what is mentioned here in brief is explained in greater detail there.
Thus, the decision to keep the existing recycle dumpsters on State Route 43, which everyone agreed is an awful eyesore, or go to curbside recycling is now in the hands of the township trustees. It should be noted that the current method of recycling costs the township $7,200 per year, which comes from the general fund budget and represents about 4% of that woefully stressed fund.