Chesterton Tribune



Yearly recycling fee increased to $20; businesses now included

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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.

Another change, 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 Conover, R-3rd.

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.

County Commissioner 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.

The district’s 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 bins.

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, Davis said.

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.

“They are recycling. That’s a good thing,” she said.



Posted 9/19/2014




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