WILMINGTON — Wilmington Safety and Service Director Brian Shidaker, citing annual costs of more than $100,000, asked city council to consider charging more for the city’s curbside recycling program. Council took no action on Shidaker’s request at its Thursday, Aug. 18 meeting.
“I’m all for recycling,” Shidaker said. “We pay one cent as taxpayers for that service. … It costs our landfill approximately $103,000 per year to run that program, when you’re talking about the personnel, the maintenance of the truck and what we pay for the tonnage.
“What I would like council to consider and to start discussing is whether or not we want to continue the curbside recycling program,” Shidaker continued. “We all would like to have a recycling program in the city of Wilmington, but as the service director, I’ve been sitting here contemplating whether or not we should suspend the program to save the landfill $103,000 per year.”
Shidaker said as service director he has authority to suspend the program, but only council can change rates.
Those costs come from having to pay to recycle items and the curbside collection itself.
Shidaker said recycling reduces the amount of airspace used at the landfill, and he said $2.50 per month per household would cover the cost of the program.
Wilmington resident Paul Hunter said if the recycling program were stopped, the city would have to pay fees for every ton trashed instead of recycled.
Marian Miller, executive assistant to Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth, said that would reduce the recycling program’s costs to the city by about $6,000, still resulting in a $97,000 net loss.
“The only reason we (started to) recycle is because it was the right thing to do for the earth,” said Wilmington resident Don Wells. “If you charge people to recycle, they probably won’t recycle, and if you make it mandatory, they still won’t recycle.”
Former council member David Hockaday said the cost of recycling was initially billed into the cost of refuse collection “so now you’re just saying the cost of doing business has gone up and $103,000 is what the additional cost of doing recycling is costing you.”
“I don’t think that’s fair” to bill recycling costs into refuse collection, Shidaker said. “I think it should be transparent and you should know what it costs for the recycling and that should be separated in the bill.”
Tammy McKay said she would pay $2.50 a month to recycle.
“Recycling is our contribution, doing our little bit to save a little bit of the earth,” she said.
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