MEDINA — Ditching an old sofa could cost $10 and getting rid of a broken flat-screen TV could run you $70.
That’s just some of the proposed rate increases under consideration by the Medina County Solid Waste Management District. Yet, some worry if residents have to pay increased fees to get rid of trash, it will only result in more illegal dumping.
The Solid Waste District is proposing a lot of fee increases — something that has been under discussion during several public meetings although nothing has yet to be finalized — with the biggest change coming in tipping fees at the former Central Processing Facility in Westfield Township.
- Batteries (AAA, AA, others) — no charge/55 cents
- Lithium batteries — no charge/$1.55
- Household hazardous waste — no charge/40 cents
- Car tires — $1.50/$2.50
- Flat-screen TV, over 42 inches — no charge/$70
- Refrigerant in appliances — no charge/$20
- Appliances — no charge/$15
County Administrator Scott Miller said without an increase in fees, the solid waste district would lose $450,000 next year.
A tipping fee, also known as a gate fee, is the charge levied upon a given quantity of waste received at a waste processing facility. Medina County Sanitary Engineer Amy Lyon-Galvin said additional fees for specialty items are needed to hold down tipping fee costs.
“If there are no increases here, then it will be reflected in tipping fees,” she said Thursday during a public hearing.
The current fees at the CPF are $42 a ton for incoming solid waste. That price has been in effect since January 2016, said Beth Biggins-Ramer, Solid Waste coordinator.
After three years of operating at that rate, Lyon-Galvin has recommended to Medina County commissioners the rates increase to $44.50 per ton.
Lafayette Township Trustee Lynda Bowers has some reservations about the added charges for specialty items.
“If you start charging $70 for a television, $10 for a sofa, $10 for a mattress, $5 for a tire, those things are going to be in the ditches in the townships,” she said. “That’s what’s going to happen. People can’t afford it. People don’t even pay $70 for some televisions anymore.”
Bowers said Lafayette has a large mower for the ditches in the township and it already pays about $1,500 a year in maintenance costs.
“You can’t always see when there’s an iron-rimmed tire in the ditch or a mattress or sofa,” she said. “We’ll stop mowing our berms if we have that kind of trash.”
Bowers is happy that the solid waste district didn’t cancel the Lafayette Township Clean Up Day. She said the township pays about $1,500 for its citizens to drop off TVs, monitors, tires and light bulbs, among other items, once a year.
“We do that because we don’t want them in our ditches,” she said.
The fees are needed to provide revenue.
“If we don’t increase the fees, where do these costs go?” Commissioner Bill Hutson asked. “What do we need to do with the tipping rate? Somewhere, those fees need to be covered. You can buy a AAA battery at Harbor Freight for 10 cents. It costs us 55 cents to dispose of it.”
Biggins-Ramer said fee changes will not take effect until February or March.
“It needs to be approved by commissioners,” she said.
She said the Solid Waste District also has to advertise the new rates and inform private haulers of the changes.
Once Rumpke of Ohio’s 10-year contract begins in January 2020, the tipping fees will increase again. Rumpke would handle the processing and recovery of recyclables, and the transfer, transport and disposal of municipal solid waste.
County Administrator Scott Miller said his goal is to keep the tipping fee under $50 per ton.
Biggins-Ramer said the Solid Waste District isn’t supported by the commissioners’ general fund. Fees are established to cover expenditures of the entire solid waste district operation.
The cities of Medina and Wadsworth will be affected by the tipping fee increase.
Robert Patrick, director of public service, said Wadsworth will experience a $40,000 increase in expenses from last year if the gate fees increase.
Wadsworth delivered about 17,000 tons of solid waste to the CPF in 2018. Patrick said the city will do what it can to absorb the rate increase and not pass it onto the residents.
In Medina, Service Director Nino Piccoli said the increased tipping fee will cost the city an extra $67,000. Medina delivered 27,000 tons of solid waste in 2018.
The CPF also accepts other waste products, including bagged refuse. It proposed a fee change from $1.25 per bag to $1.30 per bag.
Biggins-Ramer said the solid waste district has managed a household hazardous waste and refrigerant evacuation programs for decades at no cost to residents.
“That has to be managed in a proper way, as does all the household hazardous waste material,” she said. “There is a cost for us to manage that.
“Good, bad or indifferent, free is not free. There is a cost associated with it.”
Miller said also wants to keep four months capital in reserve to cover any unexpected expenses.
The county administrator said in the coming year, the solid waste district needs to purchase a new truck, replace the outbound scales and repair the tipping floor.
The proposed fee increases will be discussed at the next Solid Waste District Policy meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the CPF.