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October 07, 2010

Albemarle calls for a decision on joint recycling program with Charlottesville

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DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, October 7, 2010

With the clock running out on a joint agreement for solid waste services between Charlottesville and Albemarle, officials in the county have decided to send a letter to the City Council to ask for a decision on the future of recycling and the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority.

“We need to hear whether the city will continue to support the McIntire Recycling Center,” said Mark Graham, Albemarle County’s director of community development. “If we don’t hear they will continue to support it, we are going to look at other options for dropoff recycling services in the county.”

In August, the RSWA extended its operating agreement and set Dec. 31 as the expiration date. Neither locality is obligated to continue paying for RSWA services after that deadline.

According to Graham, who gave an update to the Albemarle Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, the county has budgeted $350,000 to support the RSWA’s operations this year. From that amount, Graham estimated that the county would pay about $80,000 for its share of the McIntire Recycling Center, whereas the city will pay about $40,000.

Formed in 1990, the RSWA manages the McIntire Recycling Center and the Ivy Materials Utilization Center.

Regardless of whether the RSWA offers future recycling services, the jointly operated agency must remain in existence to administer, along with the University of Virginia, the environmental remediation of the old Ivy Landfill.

The RSWA is no longer self-sufficient from tipping fees as competition from private facilities, such as the one operated by van der Linde Recycling at Zion Crossroads, has significantly reduced the tonnage of solid waste received at Ivy.

Since the agreement’s extension, a majority of city councilors have said in public statements or in interviews with Charlottesville Tomorrow that they preferred keeping the McIntire Recycling Center open. Graham told the board, however, that the city was signaling an interest in taking a different approach to recycling.

County staff recommended Wednesday that Albemarle continue to support the RSWA’s operations at Ivy, but that support of the McIntire Recycling Center should continue only if the city shares in those costs.

“If they are out, we are out too,” Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd said in an interview. “If you want to still partner, let’s talk, but if recycling remains at McIntire [without the city’s support], we’ll have to figure out a way to charge the city residents.”

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