Richmond Hill will hold a public hearing to gauge the interest of city residents in mandatory curbside recycling, city council members decided Tuesday.
A date for the hearing hasn’t been set, but Mayor Harold Fowler said it could happen within the next few weeks.
The decision to get public input came at Tuesday night’s regular city council meeting after council members heard a presentation from Russ Hightower, a representative of Waste Management. He told the city council it would cost about $2.61 per household per month to implement a mandatory single stream curbside recycling program in Richmond Hill.
Council members were split on whether it would work in the city and whether it should be mandatory, and undecided on how to pay for it if it were to happen --- either by asking residents to foot the whole bill or split the cost the first year.
Councilman Van Hunter said he was hesitant to add a fee some residents might not be able to afford. Hunter peppered Hightower with questions and said he wanted more information on the company’s existing programs in Springfield and Garden City and more input from residents.
Councilman Russ Carpenter said he had issues with making curbside recycling mandatory.
“I don’t mean to disparage the importance or need for recycling … My problem is being forced into an all or nothing scenario and government forcing citizens who don’t wish to participate into doing something they don’t want to do,” he said.
Hightower said Waste Management’s program, which allows residents to put recyclables such as paper, plastics and metals into a cart without separating them, won’t work unless it’s mandatory because of the up front cost of additional carts and adding another truck. He said the program will take approximately 90 days to implement if city council votes for curbside recycling.
Council member Jan Bass said she’s already made up her mind.
“I hear about it all the time. People want it and I’d vote for it tonight if there were a motion on the table for it,” she said. “But by all means, let’s get public input. Let’s have a public meeting on it.”
Read more in June 23 issue in Bryan County News.