YORK TWP. — The Medina County Solid Waste District is considering an end to its yard waste program as a way to cut costs.
The main reason behind the proposal: Businesses are cheating the system by claiming to be residents when dropping off yard waste in order to get the service for free, district officials say.
The former Central Processing Facility allows residents to drop off yard waste for free as long as they fill out a manifest. Businesses, landscapers and tree service and lawn maintenance companies are charged $20 a ton.
District coordinator Beth Biggins-Ramer said Thursday that she has tracked some of the addresses people have submitted and realized they are businesses posing as residents to save money.
“They are bringing large loads, sometimes four or five times a week,” Biggins-Ramer said.
She labels these people as “misclassified customers,” which account for 45 percent of the yard waste coming into the CPF. She said she thinks these people — she has been able to identify 24 “misclassified customers” — are running lawn maintenance companies.
Residents or communities, neither of which paid for the service, brought in 31 percent. The rest are landscapers.
Amy Lyon-Galvin, Medina County sanitary engineer, said the potential cheating customers are costing the facility about $36,000 in uncollected fees for yard waste — grass trimmings, bark, twigs, sticks or branches.
“We’re missing that revenue opportunity,” she said.
Smith Brothers, of Medina, has contracted with the CPF to handle the yard waste program since 2015. Last year, the company was paid $79,000 for services. The program brought in $18,866 from landscaping companies.
That’s one reason the district is looking into cutting ties with the yard waste program. It doesn’t know if the program can break even, even if rates are raised.
“It would be a way to cut costs,” Lyon-Galvin said.
Tom James, vice chairman of the Solid Waste Committee, asked about the possibility of setting a limit on how much yard waste one individual could drop off.
“The problem would be trying to track that consistently time after time,” Biggins-Ramer said.
Officials said they could eventually charge a fee to everyone for the service or do away with the program altogether. There are four other facilities in Medina County that accept yard waste.
Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson, chairman of the Solid Waste Committee, said he wanted to know how many people would be impacted if the program was discontinued.
Montville Township Trustee Jeff Brandon said it’s a nice service to offer.
“Where do you put all those leaves? Where do you put all those sticks? Even a Christmas tree. It’s a nice service,” he said.
In other news:
- The district is still contemplating how much it wants to raise tipping fees for trash haulers. The tipping fee has been $42.50 since January 2016. If the fees stay the same, officials say the CPF will lose about $450,000 in 2019.
If it raises the tip fees to $44.50, it still will lose about $50,000.
That’s why it will likely charge to drop off specialty items like light bulbs, batteries, tires, televisions and appliances.
The CPF pays about $100,000 a year to dispose of hazardous waste materials, Lyon-Galvin said.
The policy committee will make recommendations for charges for specialty items and report back at the next meeting at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 21.
- Hutson has replaced Adam Friedrick as the commissioner representative on the Solid Waste Policy Committee. Hutson was nominated chair of the committee, with retired Medina County Park District Director Tom James the vice chair.
- Two members of the committee were nominated to new two-year terms, Dan Burlinghaus and public representative David Hull. Their terms will expire Oct. 31, 2020.
- The CPF’s Household Hazardous Waste Center has been open for about six months. It has collected 105,000 pounds of latex paint, Biggins-Ramer said, by far the most popular item dropped off. It has also collected 30,000 pounds of oil-based paint.
In the time it’s been open, 1,352 residents have visited the center and generated 190,000 pounds of hazardous waste.
There were 256 people from the city of Medina who dropped off items. Wadsworth was next with 193.
“People are grateful for the program,” Biggins-Ramer said.
- The city of Brunswick is expected to announce at its City Council meeting Jan. 28 who got the bid to handle its curbside recycling program. It is currently taking bids.
Residents will get 96-gallon trash carts to roll out to the curb each week.
They currently pay about $16 for trash service. It’s expected to go up by $3 or $4 a week.
- Trash vouchers, drop-off rules proposed to county commissioners
- Waste management district proposes fee increase for trashing household goods
- Trash contract finalized; includes commercial not residential
- Rumpke, Medina County reach 10-year deal for operation of former Central Processing Facility
- Waste deal still in the works for former Central Processing Facility in Westfield Township