Trash talk: majority of Council
opposes state garbage bill
By Renee Lapham Collins
The Saline Reporter
The Michigan Legislature canít refuse trash from Canada
or other states, due to rules governing interstate commerce
and free trade agreements.
But, it can devise plans to limit or even reduce the
amount of waste brought into the Great Lakes State.
This week, the Legislature is considering a number of
laws that would provide greater protection to Michiganís
natural resources and to residents dependent on those
resources. Senate Bill 721 is one of those vehicles.
The key element in the proposal is a $3 increase in the
tipping fees charged at landfills.
At its Monday night meeting, the Saline City Council
approved in a 6-2 vote a resolution opposing SB 721 on
the grounds that it would only increase the cost of rubbish
pick-up in the city. Mayor Pro-tem Phyllis Martin and
Councilman Rick Kuss voted against the resolution.
Right now, the city is charged $11.72 per household per
month for solid waste services from Waste Management.
City Administrator Larry Stoever told Council in a memo
that the increase in fees would translate into a $10 increase
per household for rubbish pickup.
"A very rough estimate is that this tipping fee
could increase solid waste costs for Saline in the neighborhood
of $30,000-$50,000 per year," wrote Stoever.
He indicated that about 10 percent of the revenue generated
by the tipping fee increase would go to the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality for an annual litter study. Five
million would be used for "tax incentives for recycling
"The remainder or about 80 percent would be funneled
back to county government, which would have sole responsibility
for determining how such funds would be allocated,"
Cities then would apply to the county for grants to help
fund recycling programs.
Currently, the City of Salineís waste contractor has
a curbside recycling program that gives residents the
opportunity to recycle without having to drive to a separate
facility. While there is a limit on the number of rubbish
containers that will be picked up by Waste Management
workers, there is no limit on the amount of recyclables
that are placed at the curb, according to DPW Director
The Michigan Municipal League opposes SB 721 on the grounds
that it would create a new tax for residents who live
in communities that have funded local recycling programs
for years. In his testimony before the Senate, Joseph
Fivas, manager of transportation and environmental affairs
for the MML, said that "SB 721 will impose significant
new costs on our communities, without demonstrably improving
our recycling program performance."
Mary Lirones, chair of the cityís Environmental Commission,
was vehement in her comments about SB 721 and the Council
"Michiganís tipping fees are low, and that encourages
imported solid waste," Lirones told the Council.
"Saline needs more research on this-this is the kind
of thing that you should have the Environmental Commission