City Council met Monday to discuss the possibility of omitting composting from the new solid waste contract the city will enter into with the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center.

This new contract, which will be discussed at the next meeting, could include curbside composting services that some council members have expressed concern about due to the increased fees associated with composting during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a previous Post report.

If composting is not included in the contract, it cannot be added to the waste management plan for another three years. Councilman Sam Crowl, D-3rd ward, suggested including composting in the contract and covering its cost from July 1 until Dec. 31. 

If the composting fees are covered until Dec. 31, it would cost the city about $66,000 in total, Councilman Jeff Risner, D-2nd ward, said. 

Risner pointed out that increasing fees for Athens residents could impact how people vote for a street levy renewal in November.

“We’re going to raise rates on people. They’re going to get hit and then they’re going to look at the ballot in November and say ‘Oh, my God, you want me to renew this thing?’” Risner said. “You p--- off the voters. They’ll take revenge.”

Concerned about waiting three years for the plan to include composting, Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-4th ward, suggested that composting services be phased in since many citizens have spoken to her about wanting a composting service.

Council also discussed applying for a small cities grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation in order to secure $2 million for the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of West Union Street and State Route 682 in 2024.

There have been 32 crashes at this intersection in the last year, City Council President Chris Knisley said.