Huntington recycling fee wins approval; street paving schedule set

Recycling fees in the City of Huntington will be instituted later this year following a 4-2 approval vote Tuesday, Sept. 26, by the Huntington Common Council.

The council opened the door to the possibility of a program to assist those for whom paying the fees would be a hardship, while stressing the need to educate community members on the necessity of a mandatory recycling program.

While the ordinance establishing the fees will take effect Oct. 1, city residents won’t begin paying the fees until the curbside recycling program is up and running, City Attorney Mike Hartburg said. That could be about 60 days from now, he added.

The recycling fee to be paid by city residents will start out at $5 a month and gradually increase over five years until it reaches $5.57 a month.

Even that amount could represent a hardship to some families, city resident Marvin Tudor told the council.

“I’m not sure a lot of families have the extra money to pay the $5 or so every month for recycling,” he said.

Tudor and Jerry Juillerat, both long-time Huntington educators who are now retired, said their experience in the schools and now as members of the Salvation Army board have put them in contact with children whose families don’t have the money to buy them food or clothing, let alone pay additional fees from the city.

“We hear stories and meet people who don’t have the $5 a month,” Juillerat said.

Juillerat said he’s a long-time recycler but has concerns about how many people will participate, even if the recycling program is mandatory.

“What I’m not sure of is how the citizens are going to cooperate with this new system,” he said.

Tudor says he’s not convinced a recycling program will solve the problem of a rapidly-filling city-owned landfill.

“We’re just kicking it down the road,” he said, referring to estimates that five years of recycling with extend landfill life by some nine months.

Council members Erin Covey and Charles Chapman said that while recycling may extend the landfill’s life for only a short time, the real value of recycling will come down the road when the landfill must be permanently closed.

At that point, the city will have to pay to have its trash hauled somewhere else.

“There will be fees to haul trash to another city,” Chapman said.

“Once we have to pay to have our trash hauled off, it will be based on tonnage,” Covey said.

If more waste can be directed into the recycling stream, less waste will need to be hauled away as trash — reducing the cost of trash disposal, she noted.

If recycling gains the city nine extra months of landfill life, Covey said, that nine months may give the city time to find the best contract for hauling trash to an outside disposal location.

“It’s not just to extend the landfill,” council member Seth Marshall said. “It’s to put us in a better place in the future.”

Chapman discussed a program in Portland, OR, that provides assistance to its residents who struggle to pay utility bills and fees.

“It’s probably a good thing to look at for our community,” he said.

The council took no immediate action on Chapman’s suggestion.

Members voted 4-2 to approve the recycling fee structure, with Paul Pike and Jack Slusser in the minority and Chapman, Covey, Marshall and Joe Blomeke in favor.

In other business, the city’s director of public works and engineering services, Anthony Goodnight, told council exactly how the city planned to spend the $768,036 Community Crossings grant it received from the state the previous week.

The state grant must be matched by local money and can be spent only on streets.

The city plans to pave portions of 21 streets and 11 alleys and seal cracks in eight additional streets.

Streets to be worked on are determined by an every-two-year study that assesses the condition of every street in the city, while alleys are selected on the basis of citizen complaints, Goodnight said.

Streets to be repaved this year are:

Chief Turtle Court, from Ash Street to the end of Chief Turtle.

Little Turtle Trail, from 1075 Little Turtle to Chief Turtle Court.

Elm Street, from Wright Street to Drover Street.

Whitelock Street, from Riverside Drive to East High Street.

Cory Street, from Riverside Drive to East High Street.

Richmond Street, from Riverside Drive to East High Street.

Corlew Street, from Riverside Drive to East High Street.

Allen Street, from Riverside Drive to East High Street.

West Park Drive, from LaFontaine Street to Dimond Street.

Memorial Lane, from Bartlett Street to Hitzfield Street.

Bartlett Street, from St. Felix Drive to Memorial Lane.

Franklin Street, from Warren Street to First Street.

Byron Street, from Court Street to Market Street and from East Park Drive to East Tipton Street.

Wilkerson Street, from East Park Drive to East Tipton Street.

North Avenue, from Campus Street to Opal Street.

Polk Street, from Tipton Street to Church Street.

Drover Street, from Elm Street to Wright Street.

Swan Street, from State Street to Kocher Street.

Condit Street, from Old U.S.-24 to Sabine Street.

Brawley Street, from State Street to Superior Street.

Opal Street, from College Avenue to North Street.

Alleys to be paved this year are:

Between Leopold and Wilkerson streets, from Canal Street to the east.

Between First and Canal streets, from Leopold Street to Wilkerson Street.

Between Wright and Elm streets, from Ogan Avenue to Drover Street.

Between Brawley Street and Broadway, from East State State Street to Superior Street.

Between Guilford and Warren streets, from John Street to the north.

Between Poplar and Oak streets, from West Park Drive to the post office.

Between Jefferson and Cherry streets, from Edith Boulevard to the south.

Between Division and Tipton streets, from Byron Street to College Avenue.

Between Byron Street and College Avenue, from Division Street to the south.

Between Fruit Street and College Avenue, from Arthur Street to Wesley Street.

Between Byron and Guilford streets, from Randolph Street to Division Street.

Streets where cracks will be sealed are:

Hunters Ridge Drive.

Hawk Spring Court.

Trappers Cove.

Edith Boulevard from LaFontaine Street to North Jefferson Street.

College Avenue from Division Street to East Tipton Street.

Washington Street from Warren Street to Third Street.

Lindley Street from East State Street to Kocher Street.

Cline Street from William Street to Etna Avenue.

Improvements to Archbishop Noll Parkway (Old U.S.-24) will also be paid for with the grant, but will be done in 2018.

Alley repaving has already begun, Goodnight said.