2015-2029 Solid Waste Plan – Rates and Charges Assessment Q&A’s

Click here to view the  Approved Solid Waste Plan for 2015-2029

AUTHORITY AND PLAN HISTORY

House Bill 592
In the 1980’s, Ohio was experiencing a decline in both the number of landfill facilities and available disposal capacity, and there was a lack of planning for new landfill facilities and disposal capacity. Ohio was experiencing increasing imports of long-haul, out-of-state waste. Existing rules contained inadequate design and construction specifications for landfills, with some causing environmental problems and threatening human health.
In the late 1980’s, citizen, government, and private sector concerns over a wide variety of environmental issues resulted in a legislative coalition to create a comprehensive solid waste management program for Ohio. The result was House Bill 592 (HB 592), landmark legislation that was adopted into law on June 24, 1988. HB 592 set in motion a comprehensive planning process to ensure that adequate and environmentally sound solid waste management capacity exists and to increase efforts to reduce the generation and disposal of solid waste.
Ultimately, H.B. 592 resulted in the modernization of Ohio’s solid waste landfills which significantly increased the level of protection to human health and the environment. It also resulted in assigning responsibility for solid waste planning and the promotion of recycling to Ohio’s counties through the creation of solid waste management districts. Each of the 88 counties in the state must individually or in combination with other counties develop and ratify an environmental Solid Waste Plan funded by the communities they serve.

The Solid Waste Authority of Jefferson and Belmont Counties formed
In 1989, Jefferson and Belmont Counties formed the Jefferson-Belmont Regional Solid Waste Authority (JBRSWA), AKA the JB Green Team, as the state mandated county governmental agency created by House Bill 592. Our Board of Trustees is composed of 15 members representing both Counties as specified in the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code 3734.54.
Our mandate is directed by the Ohio EPA. The JBRSWA is responsible for implementing a Solid Waste Plan designed to achieve the goals set by the Ohio EPA for waste reduction, recycling and reducing reliance on land filling waste generated within the two counties. To pay for these programs House Bill 592 allows for three user fees (disposal, generation & designation) and as a last resort assessing property.

Ohio EPA required Solid Waste Management Plans
A 15 year Plan is required to be in place and implemented by the JBRSWA, whether it is written by the JBRSWA itself, or by the Ohio EPA. Each Plan is written for a 15 year period; however a new Plan is to be updated and adopted every 7 years.

The current Plan was submitted in 2015, for the planning period of 2015-2029. In the year 2004, the only other secured revenue source for funding solid waste management plan implementation was the transfer facility contract fee. As determined in the Approved Plan this revenue source alone was insufficient to completely fund all of the programs, therefore the Board of Trustees of the Authority was ordered, by Ohio EPA, to select and establish another funding mechanism to implement the plan within 60 day of Ohio EPA’s order to implement. Of the various funding mechanisms available to the Authority, the Board of Trustees chose to levy charges on improved parcels in Jefferson and Belmont Counties. The Authority levied the improved parcel assessment fee in 2004. The Board of Trustee voted to remove this fee in September 2005 for the anticipated opening of the Apex Sanitary Landfill in Jefferson County.

Funding sources
For many years we have receive enough funding through tipping fees generated by landfills and transfer stations in the district (APEX), to provide programs and services at no cost for our residents, businesses and industries.

However, early in 2014 we were notified that our annual funding would be cut by up to 64%. This was a direct result of the Apex Landfill rail transportation asset sale, which significantly reduced the Out-of-State solid waste to Apex, significantly reducing the JBRSWA’s funding from out-of-state contract fees and disposal fees. We do also fund Plan Programs and current operations through a disposal fee collected at the landfill (APEX) of $1.00 per ton for In-District solid waste, $2.00 per ton for Out-of-District solid waste and $1.00 per ton for Out-of-State waste (#4 below). These fees are not being proposed to change and make up much less of our funding.

The JBRSWA had two (2) funding source options under the current plan:

1) DISPOSAL FEES/CONTRACT FEES – if a landfill exists in the District, such as Apex, fees can be assessed for the amount of MSW received. The JBRSWA has a $1-$2-$1 rate. $1 per in-district ton, $2 per out-of-district ton, and $1 per out-of-state ton (which must match the in-district ton). There is also a Contract 50 cents fee on the out-of-state tonnage which is where the largest loss has been for us. These fees are taken out of the Tipping Fees that the landfill charges for the MSW.
2) ASSESSMENT – under Revised Code 343.08 and 343.011 an annual assessment can be applied per each lot or parcel of real estate property that is improved or in the process of being improved, with at least one permanent, portable or temporary building located within the geographical boundaries of the Authority. Meaning only the properties with buildings, and not the ones that don’t. These assessments can be revisited annually and reduced if other funding sources have increased.

In July 2014 the JBRSW Authority Board made the decision to pass a resolution to implement the Assessment “reasonable rates and charges” under Revised Code 343.08 and 343.011 to expand the Assessment to a maximum rate of $12.54 per improved parcel per year beginning in 2014, and began to be collected in 2015. Again, our last resort is to assess against property owners, but we had to finance the programs required by the state and had no choice.  In July 2015 the Board passed a resolution to reduce the Assessment rates and charges for 2016 from $12.54 to $9.52.  On September 7th, 2017 the Authority Board passed a resolution to reduce the Assessment rates and charges for 2018 from $9.52 to $4.75.

The  Solid Waste Plan for 2015-2029 includes two additional funding source options:

3. DESIGNATION FEES – fees collected from MSW (municipal solid waste) generated in our two Counties that is taken to any designated landfill. Only landfills that have been approved by contract can accept MSW from our District.
4. GENERATION FEES – fee charged to everyone from in the District that generates MSW taken in-district or out-of-district/in state, but this cannot include the MSW taken out-of-state. This type of fee is less beneficial with our two Counties bordering another state

The current 2015-2029 plan provides the option for either fully or partially funding the JBRSW Authority through designation fees. This option has reduced the assessment and if revenue continues to increase annually due to this option, the Authority Board would be able to reduce the assessment amount at the annual reassessment allowable each September.

This new Plan includes many of the JB Green Team programs and services you may be familiar with. We provide recycling opportunities in Jefferson and Belmont Counties with many different programs.
• 49 Community Drop-off Recycling locations for Fiber (paper, etc) Commingled (plastic bottles, glass, metal cans, etc) Materials
• School, business and non-profit fiber recycling program
• Business glass recycling program
• Community Tire Collections
• E-cycling Collections
• CRT TV proper disposal assistance (collection) program
• Household Hazardous Waste Collections
• Free Latex Paint Collection
• Community Cleanup Collections (for larger non-hazardous waste items)
• Education and Awareness Programs for our youth and adult organizations
• Litter Cleanup Activities

The Rates & Charges Assessment

COMMON QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE ASSESSMENT:

What is this Assessment for?

This Assessment is a “municipal waste rates and charges assessment” to help fund waste management programs required by the Ohio EPA. It is levied only against lots or parcels that are improved, or in the process of being improved, with at least one permanent, portable, or temporary building. Not all property generates waste which is why this is an assessment specifically on improved parcels. The recent revenue reduction from the out-of-state waste (as explained in paragraph 8 above) has made this again needed.

How much is this assessment for?
This is a $9.52 per improved parcel assessment plus the Auditor’s handling fee of 3%. The Authority does not receive any of the 3% handling fee.

Doesn’t this assessment have to be voted on by the residents?
No. By law (HB 592) each County in Ohio must offer ways to manage solid waste through reduction, reusing and recycling programs. In order to pay for this management, Revised Code 343.08 and 343.011 allows Authorities to assess on approved parcels in order to pay for these programs.

Why should I have to pay  when I don’t feel I generate very much waste?
Many residents do an excellent job of recycling and place very little in the waste stream. This assessment pays for the recycling program as well as community clean ups and other collections we have throughout the year.

I own a lot of land, will this be assessed on each of my parcels?
The assessment is assessed on improved parcels ONLY. An improved parcel is one that has been improved with a house or other structure. Any vacant lots or empty parcels do not get assessed.

How long will this remain?
The Authority will reassess the need each year with hopes of reducing it if funding from other options increase. The Authority would lower the assessment to match only what is needed to fund our operations.

I recycle. Don’t you receive enough money from the recycling you receive?
It is true that we generate some money from the paper and commingled recycling, but it does not cover the costs of fuel, maintenance and other costs associated with running those programs. Also, recycling is a commodity, and prices for the recycling fluctuate so the amount we receive varies.

How often?
This assessment is applied once a year (or divided into half at twice a year). If the disposal fee revenue (as explained in #4 above) increases above the projections in the Plan Update, or other revenue sources increase the Authority will evaluate the assessment fee amount to determine if a reduction is achievable.

I have been hearing about the local Municipalities voting no, is this for the assessment and will it stop the assessment from being applied?
No, the assessment was placed under the “Current Plan”, and is completely separate. What the Municipalities are voting on is the new Draft Plan set to run 2015-2029. The assessment will remain and begin to be collected in February 2015. However, a new revenue option (designation contract fees) in the new Plan may provide a way for the Authority to fund the required programs in other ways and reduce the amount of the assessment in the future.  The Authority is currently working towards this option.

If the local Municipalities are not voting on the assessment, what are they voting on?
The 2015-2029 Solid Waste Management Plan (PDF file link at the top of this page) for the Jefferson-Belmont Regional Solid Waste Authority. The Authority is mandated by the Ohio EPA to put together a Draft Plan every 7 years that must be approved by 60% Municipality population of each County without veto. The last one was done in 2008 which is the Current Plan of 2008-2023. The municipalities are notified and provided copies of the Draft Plan for consideration and comment. If the Plan is not agreed on and approved, the Ohio EPA will then write a Plan for Jefferson Belmont Counties as they wish it to be without any approval from local Municipalities.

Has the Authority/JB Green Team cut its costs?
Yes, the JB Green Team has already made several cuts to its budget. We have cut three staff positions, and absolved one management position.  Removed some of the less frequented Community Drop-off locations to reduce transportation costs. Rates and Charges were able to be reduced by putting a designation fee on the landfills as now allowable in our New Plan.  Landfills now charge $2.00 per ton, that will come back to JBRSWA to offset the rates and charges.  

For a downloadable/printable PDF of our Rates & Charges Brochure click here – Rates & Charges Guide brochure