The Board of
Directors of the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District voted
5-1, at a meeting Tuesday, to increase the service fee charged to homeowners
on their yearly tax bill, from $15 to $20 starting next year.
this will be the first year the fee will apply to businesses, specifically
commercial, industrial and agriculture. It will not, however, apply to
agricultural lots that are vacant.
The board includes
the three County Commissioners, and County Council representative Karen
Also on the board
is the executive official for the largest municipality in the County --
Portage Mayor James Snyder, a Portage city council representative, Portage
City Council member Sue Lynch, and an official representing the other
municipalities, Kouts Town Council member Jim Murphy.
Laura Blaney, D-South, who was present at the meeting, was the dissenting
vote. County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, was absent.
Blaney said that
while she supports the mission of the district, she feels that now is not
the time to raise the fee, since a proposal is in the works by the new
Porter County Stormwater Management board that could charge property owners
in the unincorporated areas $10 a month per equivalent residential unit.
“We can’t ask the
taxpayers to pay for everything all at once. We are working on a stormwater
fee right now and that takes priority,” Blaney told the Chesterton
Tribune on Thursday.
The last time the
district raised the fee was in 2011 to offset the costs due to an increase
in the number of users, educational programs and to replace aging equipment.
executive director Therese Davis said the board “saw the need” over the year
for a new rate increase due to a broader population using the services.
The new revenue
would allow more hazardous waste collection days, doubling the amount from
three each year to six, and replacement of the older drop-off recycling
The district is
looking to purchase a used semi-cab and trailers to haul equipment across
the county and a new storage building will be built to house the equipment,
A new brush grinder
will be purchased for use at the compost sites, she said.
Also, the district
plans to hire a new part-time educator to speak to school-aged children
about environmental impacts made by recycling.
The new fee
structure is projected to bring in $327,000 from residencies and $81,000
from business properties, for a total of roughly $408,000, Davis said.
Davis said the
district noticed businesses have been using the service at no charge to
them, which is why the recommendation was made to include them in next
year’s fee collections.
recycling. That’s a good thing,” she said.