The South Bethany Town Council discussed possibly changing the town’s recycling and trash collection schedules for the coming year at their workshop on Thursday, Sept. 23. With more and more people recycling and trash tipping fees possibly increasing by 50 percent, the council discussed ways in which they might adjust their schedule to see some savings.
“What set me off was this…” said Councilman John Fields. “When we got started, there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, but this has been far more successful than I thought.” He noted that his recycling bin is always full, and his trash can less and less so.
Fields said that, after his recycling was picked up every Friday in the summer, it was a bit of a shock for that weekly collection to stop the second Friday in September. In South Bethany, recyclables are currently collected on the first and third Fridays of the month from September through May, and weekly during the rest of the year.
“We need to make it a priority, once a week, year-round. I don’t care what we do about trash…” Fields added.
Mayor Jay Headman pointed out the possibility of trash not getting picked up as frequently and using potential cost savings from that reduction to offset adding additional recycling pick-ups, but he said he did not feel that was the way to go.
Headman said the town needed to find out what any cost savings would be before any decisions are made. He also noted that, during the off-season, he just fills up his neighbor’s recycling bin if his is full.
Councilman Robert Cestone commented, “If we are already paying for it, why not do it? I don’t know how to administer it, or let the public know. I don’t know…”
If people had more than one recycling bin and only one trash bin at their house, Town Manager Mel Cusick said, the town would still be charged for two stops.
“If we have two more recycle [days] and one less trash, does that balance out?” asked Councilwoman Sue Calloway.
“I don’t know. That’s what we are talking about now,” replied Cusick. “Allied [Waste] said they would look at picking up recycling on Saturdays and changing trash pick-up to Friday or some other day.”
“Can we ask them to keep costs the same and come up with a plan?” she asked.
Councilman Tim Saxton emphasized that his goal was to reduce costs, not keep them the same.
“We’ll try to get what the cost reductions would be,” said Cusick.
Possible changes to the trash and recycling schedules could be to change to one pick-up for trash, on Mondays, in April, May and September. In June, July and August, trash pickup would then be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from October to March, it would be on Mondays only.
Another option would be to have only two trash pick-ups each week in June, July and August, on Monday and Friday.
Park survey letter getting finalized
Also on Sept. 23, the council discussed the letter that will go out to property owners in the next Zephyr newsletter, concerning the proposed park and upcoming survey. The letter was written by Fields, who heads the town’s official park committee.
The “conservation committee” – opponents of the park – said Fields’ article, which combined the opposing and supporting positions, was fine, according to Saxton. But Calloway – who serves on the committee’s pro-park group – said there were a few changes that group would like to see.
“I really feel like it should not go out,” said Calloway. “Our changes were disregarded, and there are only five or six changes.”
“I thought it was even-handed,” said Fields, “but I am not opposed to changing it.”
Fields said he had possibly misled the park and conservation committees when sending the letter to them in advance of it being published, as he may have made it sound as if it was for review, when he had already turned it in and was sending it to them only so they would have a copy.
“I usually share things with my committee,” added Saxton, “but I don’t necessarily ask for their approval.”
Headman said he felt they had “wiggle room” for possible changes before sending it out in the newsletter.
Saxton added, to Fields, that it was “your decision.”
“That’s fine with me,” said Fields, “but I am not so stubborn to [refuse to] make some changes. It won’t significantly change it, but it was important to [the park committee] to change some words.”