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Forsyth County recycling franchise passes first reading

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The Forsyth County commissioners have taken a first step toward granting a new recycling franchise to Waste Industries for the unincorporated areas of the county.

The ordinance amendment granting the franchise to Waste Industries passed its first reading Monday night. It must pass a second reading on Aug. 26 before going into effect.

Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall was the only commissioner to vote against the measure, objecting to the $8.65 monthly fee, which is more than triple the current rate.

“I think that’s very unfair to the ones who really want it,” Marshall said.

Board Chair Richard Linville pointed out that the service will still be voluntary.

The county began searching for a new company to grant exclusive recycling collection rights in unincorporated areas after Waste Management provided notice that as of November it will stop providing the service for the county. At a cost of $2.65 per month, participation was only at 13.5 percent.

Waste Industries was the only business to submit a proposal that fit the county’s request, said Minor Barnette, director of the Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection.

According to the proposed ordinance amendment, the new franchise will begin Nov. 6 and will run through Dec. 13, 2016, with two automatic renewals for two-year terms unless the county or Waste Industries exercises its right to terminate the contract.

The fee will be capped at $8.65 per month for bi-weekly curbside pickup of recycling, which includes use of a 96-gallon cart. Only the county commissioners can grant a fee increase, and fee increase requests will not be considered before Nov. 6, 2015.

Subscribers who can provide proof of a special need can have recycling picked up at their house at no extra charge if the containers are placed no more than 150 feet from a passable public road and the area is free from interference such as dangerous animals or obstructions, Barnette said.

Waste Industries will be responsible for marketing the service and handling accounts.

“ We’ll do our best to provide them with the most accurate address list as possible,” Barnette said.

He said the roughly 3,000 households currently using the service will have to contact the new service provider when the deal is finalized to establish a new account. Waste Industries should distribute carts in time for a Nov. 6 takeover date.

Forsyth County Manager Dudley Watts told the county commissioners Monday that staff members are working toward making this a seamless transition.