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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Should Milton recycle?

by Jonathan Copsey/ Appen Newspapers

February 14, 2010 MILTON - Milton residents wishing to use Roswell's recycling center may have some good news. Or bad news. On the one hand, they could continue to use it; on the other, they may have to pay.

At last week's council workshop, Stu Moring, the Environment and Public Works Director of Roswell, laid a proposal before the council members – pay Roswell to use the facility. Roswell's reasoning is this: the recycling center costs about $400,000 a year to operate. Right now Roswell is shouldering the entire weight of that cost, even though the facility is open to anyone.

While negotiations have really only just begun, the first proposal by Moring was that Milton pay a yearly cost based on population. For Milton, that works out to about $50,000, which is coincidentally what the city had set aside for recycling programs.

While this may sound like a lot of money, it's worth it for a city as "green" as Milton, right? Maybe not. Roswell conducted a study last year of where its users lived. The vast majority were from Roswell, with a quarter from Alpharetta. Milton residents made up only 5 percent of total users.

"Right now the numbers don't seem to support this amount," said Council member Alan Tart.

The problem Roswell is facing is that, while much of north Fulton and the surrounding areas use the facility, only Roswell pays for its significant upkeep. To help defray costs, Roswell is considering a number of options, including making the facility membership only – that is, except for certain "partner" cities. Which is why Roswell wants that $50,000. Should Roswell go forward with the membership option and they cannot reach an agreement with Milton, all non-Roswell residents might have to pay a fee to use the facility – which could be anywhere from $50 to $75 per year or even a per-trip fee.

Nothing is currently set in stone, as both cities are still feeling each other out for interest.

"It's kind of a beloved place for those of us who believe in being green and its a place that many of us have used for a long, long time," said Council member Julie Zahner Bailey. "[But] we have to look at the options."

"The ball is in Roswell's court at this point to let us hear what our options are," concluded Milton City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.

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