Industry Slowdown Impacts Local Solid Waste District

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 27, 2010 Updated Jul 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Here's a twist on the phrase, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Allen County's Solid Waste Management District is losing treasure because local industry is throwing away less trash.

The local solid waste district, that helps coordinate various recycling and waste reduction opportunities for the community, is subsidized in large part by tipping fees paid by companies that dispose of waste in Fort Wayne’s National Serv-All Landfill.

A slowdown in business during the recession is cutting those tipping fees dramatically, by almost one-third.

A recycling drop off site in New Haven will shut down August 7th, in part, because those tipping fees have dropped off.

The solid waste district is proposing a 2011 budget that’s $93,000 less than the one for 2010.

The district expects to see a $500,000 cut in its revenue stream, again, because sluggish industry doesn't produce as much garbage either.

The solid waste district is learning a painful lesson in trickle down economics.

Nelson Peters/(R) Allen County Commissioner: " When the economy is not moving, to the extent we'd like to see, that effects everything from garbage haulers to, you name it. And that's what's happened in this particular case and consequently, we're going to have to cut back on some of the expenditures of the solid waste district."

District Director Tony Burrus wants to dip into cash reserves to the tune of $500,000 to make up the shortfall.

There's close to $3-million in reserve, but that, of course, won't last more than a few years, if industry and tipping fees don't return to old levels.

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