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February 6, 2013

Recycling policy may face public vote

NORMAN — City of Norman recycling plans may have a glitch if one council member’s reading of ballot language is correct. The Norman City Council instructed city staff on Tuesday to move forward with preparations to enter a contract with new vendor and low bidder, Republic, for the city’s curbside reycling service.

In order to keep costs down and increase service, city leaders said Norman will move to biweekly recycling pickups with polycarts to allow for curbside carboard recycling.

“I got the ballot language and it clearly says weekly curbsie recycling,” said Council member Tom Kovach. “I’m afraid we’ll have to revote the public if we go to biweekly.”

The rub? If the city stays at weekly curbside recycling, it will still have to go to the polls — to request a rate increase.

Kovach thinks the public will support biweekly recycling pickup to include cardboard and keep the rates the same, but the 2007 ballot language indicates a vote will be needed to make that change in his opinion.

A legal opinion from the City Attorney’s Office indicates a vote is not needed to go to biweekly pickup, however.

“The only reason the citizens got to vote on it at all is because they have the right by charter to vote on the rates — it’s not the service, it’s the rates,” said Assistant City Attorney Kathryn Walker. “Biweekly in 96-gallon polycarts is not a reduction in services.”

Walker cited the additional space in polycarts allowing for more recyclables and for the addition of cardboard.

“And it’s what we can do within our rate structure which is what is important to our citizens,” Walker said.

Joy Hampton

366-3539

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

 

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