Saline City Council has reached consensus to participate in a coalition of communities forming to bring better recycling and waste hauling to the region.
On Feb. 4, Saline City Council learned more about the idea at a work session Monday evening. Council was joined by Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt, Washtenaw County Public Works Manager Theo Eggermont, and Robert Davis, an attorney who helped a successful waste management authority in Oakland County. Saline has been represented by DPW Director Jeff Fordice as Washtenaw County communities have talked about ways to collaborate. Other participating communities include the cities of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Dexter and the townships of Pittsfield, Scio, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
The goal is to move closer to zero waste and attract a private materials recovery facility to the area. The ask is $5,000 from each community. The county will match each $5,000 contribution. Each community represented in the coalition will have one vote.
At the Feb. 11 meeting, Mayor Brian Marl was looking for consensus from the city council dais.
Councillor Jack Ceo opened the discussion.
“I think it’s a good idea to participate. Hopefully we can achieve economies of scale to provide better, more efficient services,” Ceo said.
Every other councillor agreed the city should join the coalition.
Councillor Janet Dillon said she was optimistic about the process, but concerned about the potential for confusing logistics – such as different days for trash hauling and recycling.
Councillor Dean Girbach said he liked that each community would have equal say, but was skeptical about Ann Arbor having only one vote at the table.
Council is expected to consider a resolution to join the coalition at its March 4 meeting.
In the meantime, Fordice and the city are negotiating a new contract with Waste Management. The current contract expires this summer. Fordice said the contract is being negotiated with the the authority in mind. He said any contract will likely have a basic out clause should the authority be ready to negotiate a new contract.
In other recycling news, DPW Director Fodice said the city might be replacing the recycling carts at city ahll with a large container with sliding doors. Fordice said the central location for recycling has been a “great success” and the city has experienced a great increase in volume at its city hall location.
The new recycling container may require an enclosure.