Public hearing for proposed recycling fees set for Sept. 12

A public hearing on proposed fees for a curbside recycling program in the city of Huntington will be held on Sept. 12.

Those fees were introduced during the Aug. 29 meeting of the Huntington Common Council. They include both  the rate charged by the company that will pick up the recyclables as well as an administrative fee charged by the city.

The purpose of the administrative fee was questioned by council members Jack Slusser and Erin Covey.

“This is basically internal accounting that you’re looking at,” Mayor Brooks Fetters said.

Annette Carroll, City Utilities superintendent, explained that the administrative fee — initially set at $1.15 per household per month — covers the cost of setting up and maintaining the billing and collection of the recycling fee.

Administrative fees are also built into water and sewer bills, Fetters said, and pay for the cost of operating the City Utilities department.

“We’re being a little more transparent,” Carroll added.

The recycling fee will be charged to every customer of Huntington’s City Utilities who receives city trash collection as well as others who qualify to participate.

If the fees are approved by the council, charges would begin on Oct. 1.

Recycling fees for 2017-18 are proposed at $5 per month for each household, a figure that includes the $3.85 service charge as well as the $1.15 administration fee.

The fees would increase 14 to 15 cents a year, reaching a total of $5.57 in 2021-22.

The public hearing will be held during the council’s regular meeting on Sept. 12, which begins at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the Huntington City Building.

In other business, the council set a public hearing for Sept. 26 on a petition by the Huntington County Community School Corporation requesting annexation of the Riverview Middle School and Horace Mann Education Center properties into the city.

The city is also asking for the annexation of its south water plant, which is contiguous to the two school corporation properties.
Bryn Keplinger, director of community development and redevelopment, said the school corporation requested annexation in order to receive services from the Huntington Fire Department. The city is already providing fire protection to those two properties as part of a contract with the school corporation, Keplinger said.

Council member Seth Marshall questioned the costs to the city in accepting non-taxpaying properties, and Keplinger said those questions would be addressed in a fiscal study of the proposed annexation.

However, Keplinger said, the city already maintains the roads in that area and the school properties are already connected to city water and sewer, so costs are expected to be minimal.

The public hearing will be conducted during the council’s 6:45 a.m. meeting on Sept. 26. If approved, the annexation could become effective on Dec. 31.