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Hagerstown to borrow $600,000 for new recycling bins

Officials plan to distribute new containers, and collect the old ones, in April

February 02, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

As part of the city’s new refuse and recycling program that began Jan. 1, the Hagerstown City Council this week took the final step toward purchasing recycling containers.

The council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to approve an ordinance authorizing city officials to enter into a 10-year, $600,000 loan to finance the new bins, which also are referred to as “totes,” with a 4 percent interest rate for the first seven years of the loan.

The final three years would be adjusted to reflect the Wall Street Journal prime rate, which has been 3.25 percent since December 2008, according to city documents.

Councilman Forrest W. Easton voted against the motion, questioning whether it’s the right time to take on more debt.

“I don’t know what the rush is,” Easton said.

Later in the meeting, the council approved a resolution to contract with Rehrig Pacific Co. for the acquisition and delivery of the totes, which will come in a variety of sizes.

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City officials plan to distribute the containers in April, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said. At that time, they will collect the old bins.

Under the new program, residents will pay an estimated $127.70 a year, a decrease of about $8 due to a cheaper contract with Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Tissue has said previously.

The program also includes an incentive for recycling. If people wish to participate, they will need the new bins because they have microchips that track each unit’s recycling, Tissue has said.

Most residents will have a single refuse collection day each week, and no longer will be required to separate recyclables.

City officials plan to mail postcards this month to residents informing them of the types of containers the city plans to distribute, Tissue has said.

The new program has already produced results, Tissue told the council Tuesday. Compared to January 2011, recycling rates are up 28 percent, and trash being sent to the landfill is down by 50 tons through the first four weeks of 2012, he said.

“Even though we haven’t issued the totes yet for single-stream recycling and the incentive program ... is not in place, there’s already been a significant bump in recycling,” Tissue said.

The $600,000 loan will be paid for with fees collected for the new program, city officials said.

For more information about the 2012 trash and recycling program, such as collection days, check the city’s website, www.hagerstownmd.org.

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