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June 23, 2010

Solid waste authority approves budget that eliminates some recycling

Reader comments (0) DailyProgress By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s board on Tuesday approved a $2 million operating budget for FY 2011.

The budget is a 47.5 percent decrease from the current operating budget, as the board approved it in the absence of a signed cost-sharing agreement that Charlottesville and Albemarle officials intend to finalize in July.

Albemarle County Supervisor Kenneth Boyd
The RSWA administers the Ivy Material Utilization Center, the McIntire Recycling Center and the environmental remediation at the now closed Ivy Landfill. Charlottesville and Albemarle contribute to the operational budget and the landfill’s cleanup based on a cost-sharing agreement. The University of Virginia also contributes to the landfill cleanup.

During the public hearing, citizens expressed concern that the RSWA budget would eliminate recycling of batteries, fluorescent light tubes, compact fluorescent lights and paint. These items would only be collected at special household hazardous waste collection days and only one is scheduled in spring 2011.

John Cruickshank, chairman of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, said he was concerned that without the recycling convenience centers accepting these items on a regular basis there was greater risk to the environment, particularly from the release of mercury in CFLs.

“I would request that these services be retained in the coming fiscal year,” Cruickshank said. “It is important that these materials be disposed of properly to protect the environment, our natural resources and, perhaps most importantly, to ensure the public health and safety.”

Thomas L. Frederick Jr., Executive Director, RWSA
The authority’s executive director, Thomas L. Frederick Jr., told the board the RSWA budget would have to be increased by $80,000 to support continued collection of these items. The board did not adjust the budget to restore the funding.

Frederick also informed the board that he had been in negotiations with Waste Management Inc. about its contract to dispose of trash at the Ivy transfer center. Waste Management had approached the RSWA seeking flexibility so that it could dispose of collected trash at other locations. Frederick said the van der Linde recycling center at Zion Crossroads was one such facility that might be of interest to the company.

Frederick built the authority’s budget on the assumption there would be no revenues from Waste Management, but he announced that earlier in the day the company had said it may be changing its position on the contract amendment.

Board members expressed support for the budget with the understanding that amendments may be required to account for any Waste Management contract changes that would increase the RSWA’s revenues.

Albemarle Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd called for the board to determine in the very near future its long-terms plans for continued operation of the Ivy transfer center and McIntire Recycling Center.

The short-term cost-sharing agreement currently being negotiated is expected to give both governments a six-month window for this planning.


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