CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston residents will continue to receive garbage and recycling bags for the next year, but how they get those bags is set to change.
Under an agreement City Council members approved Monday night, Raleigh, N.C.-based Waste Zero will provide and distribute the bags.
Eligible city residents will receive vouchers in the mail every six months for 135 bags. They can then use the voucher to pick up their bags at to-be-determined private retailers across the city.
The first series of vouchers will be distributed in August for redemption in September.
Resident used to pick up the bags from city workers under the Interstate 64 overpass on the city's West Side.
The contract will cost the city $320,000, which Councilman Bobby Reishman said will save the city about $35,000 over the current system. The South Hills Republican is chairman of the finance committee.
He said the contract would save the city money on items like overtime pay and postage.
The new plan was not without critics, however.
Four of Charleston's 27 council members — Republicans Chris Dodrill and Courtney Persinger and Democrats Shannon Snodgrass and Mary Beth Hoover — voted "no."
Dodrill was the most outspoken of the group. He said the city could spend the money in better ways, and called for the end of the 40-year-old program.
"I think it's time we could re-evaluate the program," he said.
He pointed out that if the contract were to continue for the next three years, the city would spend nearly $1 million. He also said that trash bags are often wasted, as people eligible for the bags don't always pick them up.