“The impact to the changes to the recycling program for Carrboro residents would be the elimination of Orange County’s curbside recycling as of July 1, 2014,” says Town Manager David Andrews. “The economic impact if Carrboro tax payers had to assume that cost would be about $300,000.”
The Commissioners voted last Thursday to put into action the possibility of privatizing trash and recycling pickup in Orange County. Assistant County Manager Michael Talbert said at the meeting that there will be multiple opportunities for the Commissioners to provide input or make changes.
Under the current system, residents in unincorporated Orange County pay a fee for access to county trash and recycling services. The proposal suggested would privatize future collection, resulting in a standardized fee for rural residents.
But Aldermen comment at Tuesday’s meeting was against that proposal. The Commissioners’ vote did not formally approve any decision on the matter, but Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton says the County Commissioners need to find a different solution.
“This is highly valued by people in our community,” says Chilton. “County Commissioners: there are a number of possibilities. Please find a solution and have that solution be that we are all going to continue to get this important service.”
Chilton says he would prefer to see recycling in Orange County go the other way.
“Some of our current recycling program is contracted out to private companies, and some of it is done in house by our county government,” says Chilton. “If anything, we need to be moving in the other direction. When it comes to solid waste management, it aught to be about having county employees perform the roles.”
Town Manager David Andrews says he sees at least one other potential solution.
“There’s a really simple solution to it all,” says Andrews. “That would be for the town to advocate that Orange County continue to fund the recycling program as it is and raise their property taxes. That way, nothing changes—it’s that simple.”
Alderman Jacquelyn Gist also brought up the potential impacts on those the current system employs.
“What about the staff,” says Gist. “There are people who’s entire careers have spent building this amazing recycling program. Maybe some of them are ready to retire and this is why this is happening—I don’t know.”
The County Commissioners are scheduled to further discuss the issue at a workshop meeting April 9, with a public hearing on the subject currently planned for April 23.