Rensselaer residents upset over recycling fee hikes

August 15, 2018 11:14 PM

RENSSELAER - Everyone in the Capital Region will probably be paying more for their recycling services soon.

But people living in the City of Rensselaer are dealing with that issue right now. The city held a public hearing on the issue Monday night.

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Experts said the problem is China isn't buying our recyclables anymore. While it's unclear if that's due entirely to recently imposed tariffs, the bottom line is municipalities like Rensselaer used to be paid for their recyclables. Now they’re being charged for them. That cost will likely have to be passed on.

"I'll be paying $60 more per year,” Marshall Dolgin said.

Dolgin lives in the City of Rensselaer. He's one of the people against the city's proposal to increase recycling fees by 28 percent.

Rensselaer Public Works Commissioner Dominick Tagliento said that works out to about a $1 more per week.

But for people like Rosemary Moore, who is on a fixed income, that's a significant hike.

"It does seem to be a lot for the amount that I put out,” Moore said. "It just seems that every place you turn there's just a little bit more here in a little bit more there."

Joanne Farrell wants to know why the city can't use the money they get from the Dunn Mine & Landfill to offset recycling costs.

"They told us that the reason the biggest arguments they had for doing so was it was going to lower our taxes,” Farrell said. “We were not going to have a tax increase it was going to lower taxes, and now look what's happening."

Tagliento said the landfill monies go toward infrastructure projects.

"I hate to raise prices I don't want to do it but we've exhausted every other avenue,” Tagliento said.

Tagliento said the city went from making money on their recyclables to footing a hefty bill for them overnight.

"They just sent us a bill for $1,400 for four days I almost fell off the chair I said you got to be kidding me,” he said.

Rensselaer isn't unique.  The City of Albany's Department of General Services said they're negotiating with County Waste Management to get the best prices for their customers.

A representative from DGS said it won't be long before everyone in the region is dealing with this issue.

NewsChannel 13 contacted County Waste Management Monday afternoon to ask them what they're doing with all their plastics now and how it could affect people at home. No one was available to answer questions.


Emily Burkhard

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