To the Editor:
Citizens of Clay, Owen and Vigo counties who believe the protection of the environment is a priority are needed to testify at a public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., in the Brazil City Hall Council Chambers, 203 E. National Ave., Brazil.
Following the public hearing, the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste Management District Board of Directors will vote on proposed resolution 11-01, which seeks a badly needed increase in revenue for the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste Management District (herein after referred to as the District).
According to Janet Reed, executive director, the District has provided many programs to educate children and adults as to how they could help protect the environment.
The District also has provided funds to entities in the three counties to help conduct environmental projects, hosted Tox Away Days and White Goods Collection Days and provided some assistance to the Goodwill Industries Recycling Drop Off, Owen County Recycling Center and Clay County Recycling Center.
The District has mercury collection and battery recycling drop-offs in all three counties. It has coordinated Illegal Dump Programs in all three counties and provided disposal funds for the county highway departments and city street departments for their illegal dump cleaning efforts. The District owns a mobile tire cutter that travels to the county highway and city street departments to prepare waste tires for disposal.
It is in the process of applying for a permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to become a tire processor in order to address the storage of waste tires and provide waste tire disposal. Reed said approximately 75 percent of District funds are put back into private industry.
Funding for the District is provided by Republic Industries, Inc., owner of the Sycamore Ridge Landfill in Vigo County.
When the Solid Waste Management Districts were mandated by the State of Indiana in 1991, it was decided that the Clay-Owen-Vigo District would be funded by a tipping fee of 50 cents per ton of solid waste deposited in the Sycamore Ridge Landfill.
The tipping fee was reduced to 25 cents per ton of solid waste in 2002. Prior to 2009, the District also received some grant money from IDEM; no grant money was received in 2009, 2010, or 2011, and none is expected in 2012.
Unfortunately, due to the decrease in revenue, funding for several programs has had to be sharply reduced. This October's Tox Away Day was the first the District had been able to sponsor in four years. To be most effective, Tox Away Day should be held every year so that people will save hazardous waste for safe disposal rather than throwing it out with the trash.
The District needs an increase in the tipping fee of at least 25 cents a ton, for a total of 50 cents per ton, in order to fund programs at the previous rates.
If the tipping fee were to be increased to a total of more than 50 cents per ton, the District could add other programs, such as a District website, unwanted prescription medication collection and year-long fluorescent bulb recycling, and ensure that Tox Away Day could be held every year.
If you care about the environment, please attend and consider testifying at the public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., in the Brazil City Hall Council Chambers.
Carolyn Callecod, President,
League of Women Voters of Vigo County