County to begin collecting recycling

By Mike Sever Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Beginning Thursday, much of the recyclables left at curbside or at drop-off sites will be picked up by the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

"We'll be out there," said Fred White, who manages the districts recycling center in Brimfield.

"It's going to be a very hectic month, but we've done as much planning as we can," White said.

The district has hired two drivers to run the routes and is renting two trucks to cover the routes until it takes delivery of its own vehicles.

Two months ago the district terminated two contracts with R.C. Miller Refuse Service Inc.: A $62,484 annual pact for roadside recyclable collections in the Northwest Recycling District; and a $139,680 contract for 14 drop-off locations. The contracts were canceled in early February after repeated complaints by township trustees that drop-off sites were not picked up in a timely manner, and from residents complaining about missed stops and materials scattered along the route.

Portage County commissioners loaned the waste management district $380,340 to acquire a frontloader for the recycling center, front-load and side-load trucks for the pickup routes, and to buy about 100 metal bins for 14 drop-off sites.

The loan to the district is at an interest rate comparable to what the county would have earned if it had invested the funds. Commissioners decided to make a direct loan after the county and a bank offering a lease-purchase for the trucks could not come to agreement.

Commissioners resolved one prospective problem with the start up when they agreed to reclassify the truck drivers' position, raising the pay rate about a dollar an hour, Charles Ramer, district coordinator, said. Ramer had told commissioners earlier this month that the original pay scale was not adequate to attract drivers with a commercial driver's license.

Letter are going out to township trustees and to Mantua and Shalersville officials explaining the changes. The new in-house program is projected to save money over the contract service.

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