Kent leaders are poised to continue a recycling contract with the county hauler

The Portage County Solid Waste Management District. Lyndsey Brennan/The Portager

A Kent City Council committee advanced an 18-month contract with the Portage County Solid Waste Management District to the full council on Wednesday, giving a win to the embattled county agency and maintaining the status quo for Kent residents.

In return for each residential property owner’s $5.50 monthly fee, the recycling center would provide twice-monthly service. Even though the recycling center’s costs may rise or fall during the course of the contract, property owners would not see those fluctuations on their bills, Solid Waste Acting Director Dawn Collins said.

The lone holdout during council’s committee vote was John Kuhar, who said he wished the contract had been put out for competitive bid. He said he pays about the same for weekly trash service as he does for bi-weekly recycling. Both involve similar manpower and trucks, but the trash hauler pays to dispose of the material while the recycling center sells it, he said.

“We’re paying double for the same type of service,” he said.

Optimistic that Kent city leaders will approve the contract at their Nov. 17 meeting, Collins said, “I appreciate their partnership and faith in us. I hope to continue the best and most cost-effective service possible.”

The proposed 18-month contract is the same as the recycling center has offered to all its residential curbside pickup customers (defined as buildings with up to three units). If council approves it later this month, it will take effect Jan. 1.

The county currently provides curbside service to Atwater, Aurora, Brimfield, Franklin, Hiram Township, Hiram Village, Kent, Mantua Township, Ravenna, Ravenna Township, Rootstown, Shalersville, Suffield, Sugar Bush Knolls and Twin Lakes.

So far, facing a Dec. 1 deadline, Ravenna, Shalersville and Suffield are the only communities that have already agreed to the new contracts.

The Solid Waste contract with Streetsboro ended in October, when the city switched to Kimble, a private hauler. The county did not pursue a contract with Aurora, the county’s northernmost city.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.

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