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Charleston trash bag program to see changes

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.

"I just don't see the use in this program anymore," he said.

Finance committee members met immediately before the full council meeting, and the trash bag issue was discussed there before being passed.

Councilman Edward Talkington, a West Side Democrat, said the recycling center on Slack Street may not accept recycled materials in clear trash bags in the future, and that part of the agreement with Waste Zero may need to be changed in the future.

Charleston will not be the first city to contract with Waste Zero to provide trash bags. Waste Zero Vice President Dennis Wise said his company has similar contracts with 89 other communities across the country.

City Manager David Molgaard said the bags would have drawstring ties and seem to be more durable than some trash bags in previous years.

Waste Zero was one of four companies that placed bids for the contract. One of those companies, Interboro Packaging, based in Montgomery, N.Y., provided two bids that were lower than Waste Zero, but those bids did not meet the city's minimum thickness requirements for the bags.

Council members also:

n Approved changes to traffic laws on some city streets. Those changes are: the creation of a two-hour parking zone on Leon Sullivan Way from Lewis Street to 245 feet south of Lewis Street, the establishment of a 15 mph speed limit on Front Street and the reinstatement of two-way traffic on Sixth Street between Hunt Avenue and Russell Street.

n Approved a lease agreement in which Casto Technical Services Inc. will lease 10 parking spaces on Leon Sullivan Way for 10 years, at a rate of $45 per month, per space.

n Approved the $5.4 million budget for the Civic Center for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. The Civic Center expects to bring in $4.4 million in total revenue next fiscal year. It will also receive $1.38 million in subsidies.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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