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Funkstown opts out of county's curbside recycling program

March 19, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN — The Funkstown Town Council voted Monday night to opt out of a private curbside recycling program in favor of allowing its residents more freedom in deciding whether they want curbside recycling and which company they want to provide the service.

In January, the Washington County Commissioners voted to support a curbside recycling program presented by Allied Waste, which wants to run pilot programs in several areas in the county, including Funkstown.

Don Groseclose, Chesapeake area municipal manager for Allied Waste, described the recycling program to Funkstown officials Monday night. Groseclose said he was looking for support from the town council before mailing information to town residents about the program.

If town officials decided not to support the program, residents would still have the option of calling Allied Waste on an individual basis to contract for its regular curbside recycling program, but the service would be more expensive, Groseclose said in an interview after his presentation to the mayor and Town Council. Outside of the pilot program, the service typically costs $7 to $9 a month, compared to $5 a month in the pilot program, he said.

After Groseclose left the council chambers, J.P. Phillips, general manager of Kearneysville, W.Va.-based Apple Valley Waste, said he could provide the same curbside recycling service now to county residents for $4 a month.

Some town officials expressed concern about residents having to opt out of the Allied Waste program if they didn’t want to participate, and that residents could find similar service cheaper from at least one other company.

The Town Council voted 5-0 to opt out of the program. Voting were Assistant Mayor Sharon Chirgott and council members Kim Ramer, John Phillips III, Richard Gaver and Richard Nigh. Councilman Robert “Bobby” Rodgers Jr. was absent.

After the meeting, Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr. said town officials would gather contact information about different recycling providers and distribute it to town residents in the town newsletter so residents could decide if they want curbside recycling and who they want to provide the service.

Under Allied Waste¿s program, residents would pay $5 a month for curbside recycling one day a week, every other week, Groseclose said. The company would provide residents a 96-gallon cart and begin the service June 4. Residents who didn¿t want to participate would have to opt out of the program, he said.

The program would work the same in the other pilot areas, Groseclose said.

Phillips said Apple Valley Waste can provide curbside recycling now to county residents for $4 a month. Residents could be provided a 96-gallon cart for pickup every two weeks or be provided a 35-gallon cart for weekly pickup, he said.

¿We¿re really disappointed in the county commission¿s decision a few weeks ago with how they done the program and kind of allowed Allied to sign everybody up,¿ Phillips said after the meeting. Phillips is not related to Funkstown Councilman John Phillips III.

The commissioners did not solicit competitive bids for the program, Julie Pippel, the county¿s director of environmental management, told Funkstown officials Monday night.

The other pilot areas for the Allied Waste program are Boonsboro, north of Hagerstown, Jefferson Boulevard, Robinwood, the area around Keedysville, and Virginia Avenue.

County Administrator Gregory B. Murray has said increased use of private curbside recycling will allow the county to eliminate its unmanned recycling drop-off boxes.

The recycling drop-off boxes at the Forty West Landfill and the county¿s four manned landfill transfer centers will remain, but the county will begin charging a fee for use of those boxes, Murray has said.

Pippel said Monday night that the county has not set fees for use of those drop-off boxes.

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