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Members of the Athens City Council discuss an ordinance during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (FILE)

City Council: Discussion over compost pilot program to begin next week

A representative of Rural Action asked Athens City Council to find a way to continue the city’s compost pilot program Monday in light of changes with its refuse and recycling contract.

After what the City Administration called a “failed bidding process,” City Council rejected all three of the bids for a new refuse and recycling contract, according to a previous Post report. Andrea Reany, program manager of the Zero Waste Program at Rural Action, asked the city to continue the compost pilot program under the new contract. 

The one-year extension to the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center’s contract that Athens negotiated does not include the cost of the compost pilot program.

The compost pilot program began in July 2018 and lasted until Dec. 31, 2018, according to a previous Post report. About 200 to 300 households were part of the program. Rural Action sent a survey to those households, and many said they would pay for composting and enjoyed the program.

“The program has been met overwhelmingly with a high level of satisfaction from participants,” Reany said.

A scale fee would be needed for the compost pilot program to continue under AHRC, Bruce Underwood, executive director of AHRC, said. The fee would operate similar to recycling, where the entire city pays for it but doesn’t necessarily participate in the services. A minimum household threshold, however, would have to be met for the services to take place.

“I think we need to get to a certain point to make it financially viable,” Underwood said.

Reany wants the city to distribute even more surveys on how residents feel about a composting fee and its structure. Discussions on the compost pilot program will take place next Monday during committee meetings, Council President Chris Knisely said. 

City Council also approved an ordinance to amend the 2019 appropriations ordinance. Money from the unappropriated funds will be directed to the water fund. Money from the sewer fund will also be moved to the sewer maintenance fund for College Street sanitary sewer improvements. Multiple sewer issues were discussed last week, and maintenance could begin as early as Tuesday, according to a previous Post report.

Many of those sewage problems are being contributed to the old infrastructure in the city.

“We have an aging infrastructure, and the city administration has communicated well with us about these needs, and I think it’s a pressing concern,” Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. 


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