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Columbus Trash Debate Continues As Flat Fee is Scrapped

Jim Lienhoop

Photo: Regan McCarthy/WFIU

Councilman Jim Lienhoop discusses a new amendment to the city's proposed trash fee ordinance.

Columbus city council members dumped a proposed across-the-board $12 user fee for trash pickup, amending the ordinance to instead incorporate a tiered system. But the issue, which has been around since early this year, hasn’t been decided yet.

The amendment, proposed by Councilman Jim Lienhoop allows for residents to decide how much trash they’re willing to pay to throw away. If the amended ordinance passes city officials will charge $14 for a 96 gallon toter, $12 for a 64 gallon toter and $10 for a 48 gallon toter. Houses requiring more than one receptacle would be charged separately for each. Lienhoop said he expects the tiered system to raise about $2,000,000 dollars in funds—the same dollar amount officials estimated a flat fee would bring in—Leinhoop said that money will help bolster the city’s shrinking budget. He said the plan will encourage city residents to be more mindful of what they’re throwing away.

“We’re hopeful with the tiered system that we proposed that we will minimize or at least reduce the amount of waste that goes out there,” Leinhoops said. “We’re really looking forward to hearing in January some proposals for some curb side recycling. I understood from other communities that its been very successful in reducing meaningful percentage of waste that goes to the landfill and I’m hopeful that we can do something like that here.”

But Council member Pricilla Scalf, said she doesn’t support the amendment as it stands, saying the tiered system simply won’t put enough emphasis on recycling.

“I think without having the curb side recycling that it does not incentivize people to do the recycling. I think that’s very important,” Scalf said. “I also feel like that there’s a lot of expense that’s going to be incurred with trying to keep changing out toters and for people to figure out what toter they want and that’s money that the city really doesn’t have right now.”

Council members voted to table the topic until the next meeting. Scalf was the only “no” vote on the amendment.

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