Portage County recycling plan trashed

By Mike Sever | Staff Writer Published:

Aurora City Council's vote against ratifying a proposed plan update for the Portage County Solid Waste Management District means the new plan now will be written by the Ohio EPA.

The plan needed to be endorsed by local governments representing 75 percent of the county's population. Monday's unanimous vote against the plan by Aurora council put those opposed to it over the margin needed to scuttle the proposal that would have guided the recycling district for the next five years.

John Trew, Aurora's service director, recommended the city not endorse the plan, saying he did not believe it was in the best interests of the people of Aurora.

The vote tally for cities as of Tuesday morning showed Kent voting for the plan with Ravenna, Streetsboro and Aurora opposed. Of the six villages, Brady Lake and Sugar Bush Knolls endoresed while Mantua and Garrettsville voted aginst. Hiram took no action and Windham was voting Tuesday night.

Of the 18 townships, all but Hiram endorsed the plan. Nelson took no action.

Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Chandler attended the session and said she argued for the city's endorsement.

"I'm disappointed but I'm sure the state will write a suitable plan for us," Chandler said Tuesday.

Bill Steiner, district director, said the vote means Portage County will now miss the April 6 deadline to present an endorsed plan to the OEPA. The district's current plan will remain in force until a new one is written by the OEPA and signed by the agency director.

Steiner said he is not sure what the effect will be on the district's plans to move to single stream collections where residents would no longer have to sort their recyclable materials into different bins. The district is trying to avoid spending millions on repairs and upgrades to its Mogadore Road facility by single stream collection.

Steiner said he's also unsure what the effect will be on the district's efforts to contract a company to directly purchase those materials and shut down its Brimfield sorting facility. Privatization of recycling was the stated goal of opponents to the new plan. The district policy committee resisted an immediate turn to privatization, putting in language that opened the possibility but only after review by the district.

"We will need to have a meeting with OPEA to find out what we can and cannot do, because we have to live with the current plan," Steiner said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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