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Carolina Beach Council Approves Larger Recycling Carts; Fee Increase

The Council approved replacing smaller bins with larger rollout containers at their December 11, meeting.  The cost to residents will increase by $2.19 per month.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council approved the implementation of larger rollout recycling carts to replace the smaller curbside bins during their December 11, meeting including a rate hike.
According to Public Works Director Brian Stanberry, the Town Council heard a presentation from the Town Manager at their November meeting regarding potential to increase the size of curbside recycling containers for residential units.
Currently residential units are allotted one 18-gallon bin per household that is emptied weekly. This service costs each dwelling $2.56 per month.
Stanberry explained, "An increase in the recycling container capacity should lead to a reduction in the total amount of solid waste produced by the Town."
Stanberry presented four options to the Council earlier this week.
The first is to increase the residential curbside 18-gallon bin to a 65-gallon rollout container that is emptied weekly. This will increase the monthly fee per household from $2.56 to $4.75 which is a $2.19 increase per month, or $26.28 annually.
The second option is to increase the 18-gallon bins to 96-gallon rollout containers emptied weekly. That would increase the monthly fee per household to $4.75, which is a $2.19 increase per month or $26.28 per year.
The third option also calls for a 96-gallon rollout container but emptied bi-weekly. That would increase the monthly fee to $3.75 which is a $1.19 increase per month or $14.28 per year.
The fourth option is to continue using the 18-gallon containers without changing the monthly fee.
Stanberry explained in a memo to the Council earlier this week there is potential to offset costs through grant funding.
He explained, "There is partial funding potential through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) Curbside Recycling Roll-out Cart Program. This one-time payment to the grantee will provide relief of $10.00 per household unit for the cost difference between 18-gallon bins and 65 or 96-gallon rollout containers. The cost difference will be $26.28 per year per household for the increased recycling service."
He explained, "If Council agrees that the residential pickup of recycling should increase, the Town will work together with Waste Industries to apply for the grant. If the grant application is successful, the first year increase to the residential household could possibly be reduced to $1.36 per month (a monthly rate of $3.92). During the second year of increased service, the fee would need to the rate of $4.75 per month to cover the cost of the larger receptacle."
Stanberry explained, "The total cost of the receptacles that will be incurred by Waste Industries is in the range of $300,000. After one year of the increased recycling coverage, we can analyze the residential solid waste disposal rates and determine if there is truly a downward
trend in the amount of trash refuse created by the residents. If so, we can possibly look at reducing the monthly fee charged to the residents for trash collection and this may help offset the increase caused by the larger recycling containers."
Stanberry recommends the Council implement the new 96-gallon containers and, "Once we have made that transition and determine the feasibility, we could consider changing to a bi-weekly pickup to help control the costs. Rental units, in all probability, need to remain on weekly basis during the summer months based on volume" since many are used as vacation rental units.
During the Council's December 11 meeting, Councilman Bob Lewis said some condo associations have expressed a desire to keep the smaller bins due to limited space in multi-unit buildings.
Shuttleworth said, "We got a number of emails from people saying wait a minute, I want to recycle but I have to pay almost $3.00 more a month, $36 a year, and the town gets the benefit because they are paying less tipping fees" to dump garbage at the landfill. He said the Town will pay less per ton, "But the consumer doesn't. All the consumer is going to see is big-blue-bin and three dollars more a month."
Councilman Lewis said the following year they may be able to get a lower price per ton on garbage if people recycle more items reducing the amount hauled to the landfill.
Shuttleworth expressed a concern saying, "Today, right now, we pull about a million dollars a year out of the trash program between what we pay commercially and what our residents pay. Because the residents get a utility bill that includes trash and its paid to Town Hall and Town Hall pays that out."
The Town pays $14.03 per month per resident to Waste Industries - the hauler contracted by the Town - and the Town charges $18.39 to each resident in their utility bill for garbage and recycling.
Shuttleworth said the additional money is used to offset other costs for the Operations Department.
The million dollar figure quoted by Shuttleworth was determined to also include commercial fees and the topic centered on residential recycling.
Council member Sarah Friede said she wanted to look at possibly refunding the savings to residents in the future.
Stanberry said he would like to return at a later date to talk about public areas and the beachfront for public recycling containers.
Shuttleworth said, "I'm just hung up on charging, I know it's just $26 dollars a year but we have a lot of people getting hit with homeowners [insurance] increases... and I'm trying to figure out how it is the Town charges a flat rate and its based on some historic guesses of how much tonnage we are going to pick up. There's a margin in there... no we are going to leave the margin the same but we are going to increase it because you have some additional expenses which we are passing through to the consumer. But there's going to be a savings pretty quick. In the first 90 days you are going to start seeing a tonnage less."
Randy Gainey with Waste Industries said after a year the figures would show what the savings will be.
Shuttleworth said he was ok with a $2.19 cent increase "between now and the budget cycle" but there would be an inequitable difference between homes with single bins and condos where owners would share a group of bins. The Town's contract with Waste Industries runs for another five years.
Shuttleworth said, "I make a motion to approve the residential curbside.... at the 96-gallon rollout container and an expense not to exceed $2.19 per month and ask staff in the next 60 days to come back with some kind of matrix where you can do bi-monthly pickups and how you are going to deal with the condos." Additionally, the Town will apply for state grants to offset the cost to customers.
The Council voted unanimously. Shuttleworth asked staff to work with Waste Industries to look for comparable communities to seek existing data that may show how the larger containers may reduce the amount of garbage entering the landfill. A firm date for the implementation of the new rollout containers is yet to be determined.