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Most who completed survey want curbside recycling in Boonsboro

February 08, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO - An overwhelming majority of Boonsboro residents who completed a survey about recycling said they want curbside recycling even if they have to pay an additional fee.

Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said, however, that several residents have said they don't want curbside recycling, and recommended to him that the people who want it be the ones to pay.

"Is everyone going to be a part of it? If not, then who is going to pay for it?" Councilman Richard E. Hawkins Sr. asked.

Janeen Solberg, chairwoman of the task force, said the group surveyed 489 people - a 41 percent participation rate. Of those surveyed, 421, or 86.1 percent, said they wanted curbside recycling, she said. Sixty-eight residents said they did not.

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The task force formed shortly after the recycling bin that was behind GESAC Inc. was removed about seven months ago. The Boonsboro Town Council removed the bin after comparing the collection area to the county dump.

The town's recycling bin was replaced in December, and now is at the park and ride at the corner of Md. 67 and Alternate U.S. 40.

"They're in favor of curbside recycling even if there is an increase in their sanitation fees," Solberg said of the response to the survey.

Town Manager Debra Smith said in October, the town received a quote from its sanitation provider, Pecks Refuse and Disposal, that it would cost about $41,481 to provide curbside recycling once each week to each of the town's 1,260 sanitation customers.

"If this is something we were to pursue, that cost would have to be completely absorbed by the customers," Smith said.

Kauffman said that could mean that each resident pays an additional $35 each year for curbside recycling.

The town pays $188,337 annually for trash pickup, Smith said. Customers pay only $60 each year for that service, which accounts for $75,600 of that cost.

The town pays for the additional $112,737.

Kauffman said recycling is not only a town issue, but a county issue as well.

Smith said that in some parts of Maryland, the county takes the lead in setting up curbside recycling programs for residents in smaller towns. Hagerstown has had a curbside recycling program since 2006.

"We need (the county's) help," Smith said. "We can't do it on our own."

Washington County Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire, who attended Monday's town council meeting, said it is possible the county could help fund a recycling program for the town. He said he was in favor of helping get a recycling program under way.

There are 16 recycling collection points in Washington County, Harvey Hoch, the county's recycling coordinator, has said. More than 2,000 tons of materials are recycled annually in the county.

One of those bins is in Boonsboro, which Smith said makes it difficult to ask residents to pay to recycle when they could do it for free.

Solberg said some residents questioned why the town already does not have curbside recycling. Some wanted it for the convenience, she said, and others said they would not be able to recycle without it.

"Some seniors said they could only recycle if they didn't have to take it somewhere and dump it," she said. "They wanted to be able to recycle, but were not physically able to haul their recyclables to a bin."

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