A joint meeting between Wadsworth’s Committee-of-the-Whole and Medina City Council on Thursday night turned out to be a fact-finding mission.
Medina Council has already gone on record stating it would vote to keep the trash collection system known as flow control in place for the Medina County Solid Waste District.
Members wanted to learn what Wadsworth council members’ intentions are. There was no formal vote by Wadsworth, but they voiced their preference clearly: Keep flow control.
If Medina and Wadsworth vote to keep flow control at the Medina County Solid Waste Policy Committee/MC-18 Work Group meeting on Nov. 17, those would be the decisive votes.
The measure would need two no votes among the three cities in Medina County — Brunswick is the third city in the decision process — to eliminate flow control. Under flow control, all trash collected in the county is brought to the Central Processing Facility on Lake Road in Westfield Township.
Brunswick council members are against keeping flow control. It contracted with a third-party hauler, Republic Services of Cleveland, to collect its garbage.
Debate on flow control
Councils are studying one theory that if flow control is eliminated, the cost to collect and dispose of trash will decrease, because there would be free market competition for the service.
That line of thinking was shared Thursday by Chatham Township Trustee Rick Dumperth, who spoke at the end of the meeting that was attended by about 15 people at the Wadsworth City Council chambers. He said many of the 17 townships in the county share his views.
“It would lower costs,” he said.
He said eliminating flow control would “open up the borders” for other trash haulers to come into Medina County.
But Wadsworth Councilman at-large David Williams said not utilizing the $5 million CPF would be a “terrible waste of an asset.”
Medina Council President John Coyne disagreed with Dumperth’s views as well, saying initially the costs might come down for township residents. Over the long term, though, Coyne said they would creep back up.
Speaking on the point of concern about the low percentage of trash that is recycled, Coyne added that without flow control, trash haulers would pay more attention to their bottom line instead of worrying about how much recycling is taking place.
Wadsworth Ward 4 Councilman Bruce Darlington said keeping flow control right now is vital.
“We’re still in the learning process,” he said. “We don’t want to close the door on anything right now.”
Wadsworth Ward 3 Councilman John Sharkey said it’s a no-brainer move to keep flow control.
“The best way to stay flexible is to keep flow control,” he said. “We need to take our time and make the right decision.”
Both councils admit most of their residents would prefer to put their rubbish and recyclables in one container and have it sorted at the CPF. The contract with Envision Waste Services in Cleveland expired in 2014 after complaints were made about its low recycling rate.
Medina County produces 140,000 tons of trash annually.
“That’s a lot of waste,” Coyne said. “Most of it goes to the landfill.”
Coyne said it’s everyone’s goal to maximize recycling and to keep it at a low cost.
Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said the county could eliminate flow control at a later date, if needed, but for now, it should hang onto the “valuable asset.”
He’s interested in hearing more from InfiMer, an Israeli company that makes plastic pellets out of trash and claims to recycle as much as 60 percent of the trash it uses. The company made a presentation to the Solid Waste District in September.
Darlington said perhaps the CPF should be upgraded.
“I don’t think we’ve examined all the opportunities out there,” he said.
The city of Medina also was interested in Wadsworth’s view of its recent switch to the Regional Income Tax Agency — which collects taxes for more than 250 municipalities in the state — after leaving the Central Collection Agency.
Wadsworth Auditor Cathy Fix said the change should result in $100,000 in added revenue for the city.
She said she likes it so much, she might “sound like a RITA advertisement.”
“It’s definitely been an improvement from CCA,” she said.
Medina’s Council recently heard a presentation from RITA officials and is considering a possible switch.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com
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