Commissioners Endorse Flat County-wide Waste & Recycling Fee

The Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously endorsed a single county-wide fee to pay for recycling and waste, at Tuesday’s meeting.

Before the fee can be implemented, local governments must give the county the authority to charge this fee of approximately $103 per year, per property. Elected boards in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill approved the flat fee earlier this month.

At the time of the meeting, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen was deciding whether to endorse the flat fee. Carrboro aldermen have expressed support for the fee in past discussions.

Approval of the fee will allow the county to phase in a rural curbside recycling program over the next three years.

“You have a fee and people have choices about how they recycle,” said Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier. “That’s what the public said they wanted and that’s what we have.”

Alex Castro lives in a rural part of the county, and during public comment period, he said he and others don’t want curbside recycling. They would prefer to drive to convenience centers.

“Many of us in the hinterlands of the county don’t have a curb and a short, paved way to the road,” said Castro. “Some of us are mobility challenged, and it would be a difficult task to haul a loaded, large 95-gallon bin to the roadside.”

Commissioner Barry Jacobs said residents will have options between roll carts and small recycling bins they can drive to the edge of the road. Alternately, he said, people can drop off their waste and recycling at one of the county’s convenience centers.

County workers will drive to houses to collect waste and recycling from residents who qualify for the handicapped program, added Solid Waste Management Director Gayle Wilson.

Officials have been debating between two different funding options: this county-wide flat fee vs. a two-part fee which establishes a lower cost for urban properties than rural properties.

The Solid Waste Advisory Group, composed of officials from each municipality and representatives from UNC and UNC Healthcare, endorsed the single fee in early April.

Once local governments give the county the authority, the county manager will add the fee to her proposed annual budget for 2015/16. The annual property tax would include this fee.

Chapel Hill Chops Food Truck Fees

CHAPEL HILL- The town council on Monday speedily approved a measure to reduce food truck regulatory fees from $600 down to $200.

In the year since the council voted to allow more food trucks in town, only one vendor has signed up for the privilege.

Many food truck operators complained that the regulatory and permitting fees, which totaled nearly $750 dollars, were too much to pay to set up shop.

In response, the council voted unanimously to trim those fees down to a total of $343, which legal adviser Matt Sullivan told the council is in line with what the city of Raleigh charges.

“We are $25 less in the regulatory fee than Raleigh, but the zoning compliance fee in Raleigh is about $25 or $30 dollars less,” said Sullivan. “Our neighbors in Carrboro charge a $75 fee, which I’d equate to a regulatory fee.”

The council also voted to allow food trucks to operate as caterers, making it easier for individuals to hire them for private parties, as well as setting up a framework for public sales at special events like food truck rodeos.