Spring Hill residents can’t opt out of city recycling

Spring Hill residents can't opt out of city recycling (Image 1)

Spring Hill residents will not be allowed to opt out of city-run recycling.

The resolution before the mayor and board of alderman failed Monday night by a vote of 6-to-2, but the decision did not come easy.

“This is not a program that the government should mandate, and I won't support it now or in the future, a mandate for all to pay for recycling,” said City Alderman Amy Wurth, who proposed the resolution to opt out.

Her proposal came after the city signed a deal with Waste Management for curbside recycling. The deal includes a recycling bin for curbside pick-up at a rate of $3.58 a month for every city resident, whether or not they choose to recycle.

“My goal here is to provide citizens with a choice whether they want to recycle or not,” said Wurth. “It comes at a hefty price for the city. It comes at a hefty price for all.”

If taxpayers were allowed to opt out of the city service as the resolution stated, the city government would be on responsible for the rest of the money owed for Waste Management services, which could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It's a subsidy. I don't believe we should be using city funds to emphasize the opt out,” argued City Alderman Chad Whittenburg.

“I'm not in favor of the subsidy,” agreed City Alderman Eliot Mitchell. “I don't think it's a fiscally responsible approach for us.”

Mayor Michael Dinwiddie was against the Waste Management deal, in favor of voluntary recycling. However, on Monday night, he argued against the opt-out resolution and city subsidy.

“The ones who aren't getting it are still paying for it, and the ones who do get it are going to pay more for it. That's not fair,” he said.

Currently, recycling services are offered within the city limits at free-standing centers run by Williamson or Maury County government and paid by tax dollars. Once city recycling services begin, the board will request those counties remove the county charges for Spring Hill residents.

Waste Management recycling services are scheduled to begin April 2014.

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