Budget cuts lead to bulk-refuse collection center closure

Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

It’s not like it wasn’t used. The Waynesboro public-works department recorded 25,968 visits to the city’s bulk-refuse collection center last year.

Those visits will take city residents halfway across the county to Jollivue beginning July 1 – that, or we’re going to see a lot more bulky garbage piling up on sidewalks and in alleyways for perhaps weeks at a time.

“This is truly a reduction in service,” City Councilwoman Lorie Smith said of the decision by Waynesboro City Council to close the bulk-refuse collection center located off North Delphine Avenue effective July 1.

The move was among a series of budget cuts that Smith and others feel was necessitated by the decision to pay for the first year of long-awaited and long-debated stormwater-system improvements out of the general fund as opposed to paying for them from a separate utility fee that would have cost the average city ratepayer in the area of $5 to $6 a month.

The hundreds of residents who made the estimated 2,000 visits a month to the bulk-refuse center to drop off garbage will surely pay at least that much making that 16-mile round trip back and forth to Jollivue with gas costing $4 a gallon and more these days.

“I would like to figure what that will cost people to drive separate cars to the Augusta landfill as well as the cost of sending trucks to pick up trash in everyone’s alleyway that they would have driven to the dropoff point. Bad economics either way,” city resident Bruce Ketchum said.

That second expense will fall on city taxpayers as well, as Ketchum points out. The public-works department will augment its services to city residents who take advantage of the city’s refuse-collection services with a once-a-month bulk-refuse collection at no additional charge to ratepayers.

The bottom-line impact on the city budget from the closure of the bulk-refuse collection center is projected at $34,123, according to the public-works department.

“These cuts are painful. And I think they’re probably the first of many to come. And that’s unfortunate. We’ve just got to understand how to best utilize and maximize our opportunities in the general fund,” Smith said.

***

After the July 1 closure of the bulk-refuse portion of the Public Convenience Center, residents will have the following options for bulk refuse disposal:

– For a $25 bi-monthly fee for refuse collection (90-gallon can, one pickup per week), the City of Waynesboro additionally provides a bulk-refuse collection one time per month at no extra charge (no construction debris or contracted yard service debris allowed).

– For non-refuse residents, a special pickup can be arranged by calling the Solid Waste Management Division at 540.942.6764 for a fee of $35 per load.

– The regional landfill will accept bulk refuse for no charge to Waynesboro city resident (bring utility bill if new resident, city sticker or driver’s license to prove residency). There is a charge for tires: car tires off rim will cost $1.50 each; on the rim $3 each; dump truck tires will cost $8.00 each. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. from Monday-Saturday. For more information about the regional landfill, go to www.acsawater.com and choose the link to the landfill site.

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