For decades the Town of Oregon Recycling Center (TORC) has provided a number of services to town residents, including recycling of plastics, the collection of garbage, metal, oil and brush.
As odd as it may sound to those unfamiliar with TORC, it’s a valued hub for repurposing items, conversation and bantering - a neighborly experience that’s priceless and that hundreds of town residents look forward to.
Due to shortfalls in revenue caused by the town’s failure to “provide a system to charge residents for such usage which will at least equal the operation cost of the TORC” as stated in the Town’s Municipal Code, the town board began serious consideration of curbside pickup before investigating ways to remedy the financial shortfalls.
Meeting notes of the TORC Committee stated “Since the majority of residents currently have curbside going town wide should reduce their fees, making them happy.” This is not true.
Roughly two-thirds of township residents don’t have curbside and don’t want it. And in fact, with a few cost saving methods proposed by TORC employees, and modest increases in fees, such as a $25 yearly permit fee and 50¢ increase in the per bag charge, all services at TORC could be maintained.
Furthermore, for town residents who throw less than four 30-gallon bags of garbage away each month, the proposed increase in fees for TORC (mentioned above) would still be less expensive than the fees of $14 - $17 which were originally proposed by Pellitteri.
Currently, town residents only pay for the amount of garbage they produce. If curbside were mandatory, the majority who do not want it would be forced to subsidize the minority who have chosen to have it.
Also note that with a for-profit corporation, increases in fees that are unknown and non-negotiable are inevitable.
Beyond the annual cost for curbside service that would be added to property tax bills, there would be the additional burden of hauling 95-gallon bins up and down long, often unpaved, driveways in all weather conditions including snow and ice.
Keeping all services running at TORC is the most welcome and equitable solution. Those in favor of maintaining all services at TORC should not be lulled by the thought their cause is being championed by others.
It’s important for everyone to keep informed, express their viewpoints to their elected officials, and, should it come down to a referendum, to vote!