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Athens City Council meets atthe Athens Municipal Court on Washington Street , Feb. 26, 2024.

City council hears from AHRC advocates on formation of Council of Governments

In November, Athens City Council discontinued the not-for-profit AHRC’s contract and opted for the Cincinnati-based Rumpke. Attendees urged council members to dissolve the city’s solid waste collection contract with Rumpke to support local sustainability efforts that AHRC would uphold. 

Since Athens chose Rumpke as its solid waste hauler, AHRC’s economic future has been at stake. AHRC is at risk of laying off employees.

According to a previous Post reportby signing with Rumpke, the city saves $270,000 — a 12% cost-effective difference in rates. 

Susan McNish, an Athens resident, moved to Athens from Chicago several years ago. 

“We visited Athens and we fell in love with the area and then met people who shared our values of protecting the environment and caring for the welfare of animals,” said McNish. “And because of this, we've decided to call Athens our home.”

Another Athens resident, Warren Hayden raised concern about the city’s decision to go with a corporation instead of a local hauler like AHRC. 

“I'm also upset that going with a for-profit corporation means the money that we're paying – that I'm paying – is now going to go to stockholders and corporate executives and not staying in Athens,” said Hayden. 

For residents like McNish and Hayden, services like AHRC align with Athens’ values of sustainability and supporting local businesses, and are therefore urging the city to form a Council of Governments, or COG. 

“This is uncharted territory for having a COG based on services,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said. 

He reassured the public that the city has not been stalling any efforts in the process. Patterson also expressed frustration about the way many people have chosen to go about communicating their preference for AHRC. 

“It's been at least somewhat frustrating for me to hear the attacks that are coming from the public, of not only the city of Athens and Athens County, which is really unfortunate for people who are working extremely hard to make sure that the city of Athens is firing on all cylinders,“ Patterson said. 

The city cannot take any immediate action on the possible dissolution of Rumpke’s contract and form a COG, Service-Safety Director Andrew Stone said. He said Council takes seven weeks to act upon anything and will follow proper procedure.


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