Despite protests, recycling surcharge no problem in Dorr Twp.

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

Dorr Township Trustee PRecycleatty Senneker and community activist Bernie Schumaker raised a ruckus a little more than a year ago about the local curbside recycling program. Both insisted a $25 surcharge was unfair in that it puts the onus on residents to opt out if they don’t want to pay the fee.

Yet the most recent information about curbside recycling in Allegan County reveals it’s a very popular program and not really a financial burden after all on the good citizens of Dorr Township.

County residents who do not want to take part in the recycling program must submit an “opt out” form to the treasurer of the participating township or city by Aug. 1, according to the Allegan County Health Department Recycling web page. Act 138 of the Public Acts of 1989, part of the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967, establishes an agreement between Allegan County and a local governmental unit, to fund a recycling program to reduce the amount of solid waste entering landfills.

Ben Williams, administrator of the Allegan County Resource Recovery program, said this agreement allows a voluntary surcharge of up to $25 per household, per year, on all residential homes within the municipality to fund a recycling program.

“Who gave the county the right to put that (charge) on the parcels? We the people did not vote on that,” Senneker told the Penasee Globe in 2014. “This recycle charge on everyone’s winter tax bills needs to be explained.”

Schumaker added, “It has nothing to do with the amount, it has to do with how this process is being instituted. There is a very big difference… No taxpayer should ever be billed for any taxes without a millage vote of the people or by a statute that gives a municipality the authority to add those taxes.”

Williams said Dorr Township has participated in the recycling program since 1991.

Dorr Township Treasurer Jim Martin stated Tuesday night that 2,087 residents are signed up for the curbside recycling program. They represent 10.5% of Allegan County’s participants, the largest group in the county.

He added that 15.5 tons per month of materials are collected and the fund is currently running an $8,000 surplus from the program.

There are 20 governmental units in the county that participate. The fee pays for drop-off site and/or curbside collection recycling programs, along with tire collections, appliance collections, composting, household battery collection, household hazardous waste collection, electronic device collection, and other services. Most of those programs are restricted to residents who have paid the $25 annual recycling fee.

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