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Village Council decided at its Sept. 21 meeting that apartment complex owners and commercial property owners must offer recycling services to their tenants. Above, Rumpke’s recycling plant in 2018. (Photo by Matt Minde)

Village Council— Apartments, businesses must recycle

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Local apartment complex and commercial property owners must offer recycling services to their tenants, Village Council decided at its Sept. 21 regular meeting, held virtually.

Council voted unanimously to allow Village Manager Josué Salmerón to enforce a section of the Village’s codified ordinances related to waste collection to require recycling at those properties.

At the meeting, Salmerón explained the change, which was recommended by the Village’s Environmental Commission.

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“It looks like we have the authority, the enforcement mechanism and the noticing mechanisms to make recycling required at multi-family commercial properties,” he said.

“I think this is an important step forward as we think about the impact our recycling programs have around the world,” he added.

In addition to apartments, the resolution also allows the Village to require recycling at commercial properties with one or more business occupants. The Village largely manages solid waste collection services for those living in single-family residences. Last month, the Village extended its contract with Rumpke for three more years to provide waste and recycling services.

Marianne MacQueen, Council vice president and Environmental Commission liaison, said the commission came up with the idea while looking at ways to encourage recycling in the village. Once the group learned that some local renters aren’t easily able to recycle, they saw it as a simple next step.

“[Tenants] have no options for recycling and that’s just not right,” she said.

Interviewed by phone this week, Salmerón said he was unsure how many local property owners would be affected, but that there were an estimated five larger multi-family property owners in the village.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 estimates, of the 1,919 housing units in the village, 294 are located in duplexes or multi-family properties. Meanwhile, there are 215 commercial properties in the village, according to the Greene County Auditor’s office.

In response to a question from the News, Salmerón said at the Council meeting that the Village would consider fining property owners who do not comply.

“We will utilize all the tools at our disposal, including fines,” he said.

The first step is for the Village to send letters to multi-family and multi-business property owners to ask for proof that they are providing recycling. Some may already be contracted with Rumpke, other providers such as Waste Management, or a private hauler for waste disposal.

In the later interview, Salmerón said an initial fine for not offering recycling would be $100 per month for a landlord’s entire property. But he hopes that it doesn’t come to that. Instead, the Village will be extending an offer to property owners to join the Village’s solid waste contract with Rumpke.

“Our intention is not to go out and cite people and get money into the coffers of the Village,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that there are recycling opportunities being made available to the residents.”

In order to ensure there are “no artificial barriers to recycling,” Salermon added, the Village is giving them the option to use Rumpke.

“We are happy to switch them over to our municipal solid waste services,” he said.

Salmerón said that if more customers joined in the Village’s waste collection contract, it could benefit the Village, but not under its current financial model. Currently, the Village passes the cost of solid waste service directly to local residents, and overhead costs to the Village are not covered.

At the Council meeting, Salmerón added that he would ultimately like to see a reduction in the amount of waste — and recycling — produced in town.

“Our most viable step is reducing the waste that we put out.”

In other Council business—

• Council unanimously passed resolutions authorizing Salmerón to apply for two infrastructure grants. One application will be submitted to the Ohio EPA to cover the cost of new electric vehicle charging stations at the John Bryan Center, the library, Gaunt Park and the Corry Street parking lot. Another application will be submitted to the Ohio Public Works Commission to reroute a major stormwater sewer route downtown. The line runs along Dayton Street from Winter Street to Railroad Street and to replace it will cost an estimated $522,697. The Village is asking for 84% of the cost. According to Salmerón, the Village has known about the need to replace the line since 1966 but has not acted.

Council unanimously passed a third quarter supplemental appropriations ordinance adding $95,000 to the special revenue fund expenses and $60,000 to general fund expenses. Among the new expenses were $20,000 to cash out departing Village Finance Director Colleen Harris, $5,000 more for cable TV services to cover the cost of broadcasting more local meetings, $5,000 more to cover expenses incurred at the Gaunt Park pool, and $10,000 more to cover staff for the Youth Center, which will open soon to support the online learning of local students, according to a report from Salmerón.

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