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City officials get recycling update

1/30/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

NEW FRANKLIN — Improvements to recycling efforts are coming to residents and businesses in New Franklin.

During the Jan. 22 New Franklin Council meeting, city officials heard about recycling changes from representatives of ReWorks, formerly known as the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, and Republic Services, which handles aggregated trash services for the city.

ReWorks Executive Director Yolanda Walker explained the organization used $2.4 million generated by a $5 fee levied on each ton of solid waste generated in Summit County by haulers and landfills in Ohio to encourage and educate communities on recycling in 2012. Those efforts included $355,465 in Community Recycling Access grants provided to 23 communities, including $23,283 to New Franklin, as well as funding recycling drop-off centers in New Franklin, Norton, Barberton and Mogadore; various document shredding events; the collection of household hazardous wastes and scrap tires to prevent them from ending up in landfills; and other activities.

“We want to make Summit County a zero-waste community,” said Walker. “In 2012, the total tonnage of recyclables increased by 29 percent.”

Walker is asking communities to approve a draft Solid Waste Management Plan for ReWorks, and Council approved that plan unanimously at the meeting. There is no cost increase in the plan, which is available for review at www.summitreworks.com. Walker said the plan must be updated every five years, according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials, and must be approved by Summit County communities.

Walker said the updated plan increases education and expands recycling opportunities for small and mid-size businesses, as well as churches and schools that meet certain size requirements. These efforts will focus on food scrap recovery and composting and the collection of paper, bottles and cans. Free containers will be offered by ReWorks, she added.

“These programs divert tons from landfills and save trees,” she said. “We are really serious about saving trees and about diversion.”

Terry Thompson, area municipal market manager for Republic Services, presented information on a plan to offer a larger recycling bin to customers and use an automated system in collections. Thompson said currently customers get a small green bin that is physically picked up by an employee and dumped into a Republic truck. In the new plan, customers could instead opt for a 65- to 95-gallon bin, with pickup to take place every other week. The bins would resemble the rolling bins used for other trash, making it easier to bring to the curb.

“It’s more efficient, cleaner because it keeps items under a closed lid and reduces employee turnover due to the physical demands,” said Thompson.

Currently, the program is offered in Hartville, Canal Fulton and Barberton, according to Thompson.

Thompson said a price increase for the service could be offset through the bi-weekly pickup. He added that more information would be offered through public meetings in the near future.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Al Bollas responded to a question by Councilwoman Andrea Norris (at large), stating the salary for a full-time finance director is estimated to be around $71,000.

Norris suggested legislation be presented to Council, which can act as a catalyst to discuss a suggestion by the State Auditor’s Office for New Franklin to hire a full-time finance director.

Currently, Susan Cooke serves as a part-time finance director. She does not meet the educational requirements as stated in the city’s charter, stating a college degree in finance or accounting is required for a full-time finance director. City officials have suggested the charter be amended to address the matter, and the Charter Review Commission is expected to review the issue.

In other business during the meeting, Council adopted an advance from the General Fund to the Litter Prevention Grant Fund and the Bulletproof Vest Fund, with the funds to be transferred back when the grants arrive, and the transfer of a total of about $125,000 to various funds.

Also, Council approved the appointment of Paul Donatelli to the Planning and Zoning Commission as an alternate member and Council members Terry Harget (Ward 2) and Judy Jones (at large) to the Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Dependents Fund Board.

The next New Franklin Council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.

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