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City Council favors curbside recycling

April 12, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A majority of Hagerstown City Council members said Tuesday they would rather try to promote the city's curbside recycling program than eliminate it.

During a budget review session Tuesday, Councilman Alfred W. Boyer again suggested the council look into cutting the paper recycling service as a way to avoid a proposed $2 increase to the city's trash collection fee.

The fee, now $82 a year, would go to $84 under the $64.4 million proposed budget.

City Engineer Bruce Johnston said eliminating the recycling program might not save the city any money. If the material being recycled were instead put in with the regular trash the city would pay more in tipping fees, he said.

Tipping fees are the disposal charges levied by landfills.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein said the "real issue" is getting more people to use the curbside recycling service.

Councilmen William M. Breichner and Lewis C. Metzner said they favored encouraging wider use of the curbside recycling service.

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Metzner recommended showing citizens "they can save money down the road" if they recycle more. The savings would come from paying less in tipping fees.

Boyer said he thinks the people who recycle would use the drop-off county recycling centers if the city cut its program.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II did not attend the Tuesday meeting.

In addition to the trash collection service, the council reviewed the proposed capital spending and most of the proposed $22.5 million general fund. The general fund is the city's primary operating fund. It covers most city departments including police and fire.

About 75 percent of the proposed general fund is slated to pay wages and benefits.

The Police Department proposed budget includes funding for one additional officer.

Also, in March the council approved adding a domestic violence response coordinator, who will be a police officer, to the city ranks.

These two positions would increase the number of sworn city officers to 101.

The proposed budget also includes funding for one more firefighter than the current budget.

The proposed capital spending that was reviewed included: $190,000 for improvements to the City Hall lobby, $100,000 for the Hamilton Run Greenway, a recreational trail linking Pangborn, Funkhouser and the Fairgrounds parks, half of which would be paid for by the state, and the replacement of several vehicles including three police cruisers.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 2 at City Hall.

A final council vote on the budget for the 2000-2001 fiscal year, which begins July 1, is expected on May 23.

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