San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 3rd, 2008
San Marcos council approves single-stream recycling program

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

The San Marcos City Council gave the final go-ahead for single-stream recycling Monday afternoon, but Mayor Susan Narvaiz remained disappointed with a lack of information from Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) and wondered during a break in the meeting why the council felt such urgency to approve the program, which can’t be implemented until March.

Councilmembers passed the program unanimously, including Narvaiz, who said she knows when she’s been beaten on an issue.

Under the program, the price for residential garbage pick up, including taxes, will rise from $15.98 per month to $17.89. Councilmembers in favor of the TDS program believe the single stream method will stimulate more recycling by city residents, who are to be provided 96-gallon recycling bins by TDS.

The third-reading approval issued Monday will lead to a revision of the city’s five-year residential garbage disposal contract signed with TDS earlier this year.

Though Narvaiz supports single-stream recycling in principle, she said TDS still hasn’t answered questions raised a month ago during the first reading. Among her concerns was the lack of an explanation for why the price of garbage pick-up should increase under single-stream recycling, how much tonnage the city could recycle and other specifics.

However, other councilmembers said they were happy with what they’ve heard about the proposal.

“TDS does such a good job for us,” Councilmember John Thomaides said. “All my questions as a councilmember were completely answered.”

Said Councilmember Chris Jones, “I was very satisfied.”

Narvaiz said she will continue to seek answers for her questions, but not all of her questions can be answered by TDS. Narvaiz wondered, for example, why the council couldn’t just wait a little while, especially considering that TDS won’t have the program ready for another four months.

The mayor indicated that the city could have used the time to fit the TDS program into a more comprehensive single-stream initiative that would include multi-family residential units. The city has a Request For Proposal (RFP) out to determine what programs are available for recycling at apartments and duplexes, which aren’t covered by the residential program because they are regarded as commercial projects.

“I didn’t want to be hemmed into a five-year agreement without all the information,” Narvaiz said. “This council, for some reason, wanted to rush to make this commitment. I tried to raise the questions.”

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