Rural Orange: Talking Trash Survey

Haven't seen much buzz on this topic, and don't know who's behind Orange County Voice, but there's a group in rural Orange passing out information that Orange county is considering what could be some pretty radical changes in the way trash is handled for non-incorporated residents. If this is true, rural residents really need to voice their opinions and concerns.

Intro here:

 Survey here:


My concerns:

Any higher bar to entry to rural residents getting rid of trash will be an environmental disaster. The proposal for fees to toss garbage will be met with those who will simply revert to using the woods, the road ditches or their neighbor's properties as dumping grounds. Seriously, even a dollar or two per bag would have the impact of making this a much trashier county.

Curbside pickup does not seem feasible to me given just how rural and remote many county residents in the northern part of the county are. And my particular beef with this is that for those with really long dirt driveways, if they have to load their trash and haul it down to the non-existant curb, will they? Or is it simply more convenient to haul the already loaded trash to a "convenience site" (aka "green box site") at a time that suits them?

Those of us in un-incorporated Orange already don't get any real benefit from living in Orange vs the surrounding counties other than geographical location. Charging us more for the ONE service that many of us use seems grossly unfair. 

Finally, I can't see how manning and maintaining however many garbage trucks it would take to service all of rural Orange could possibly be more economical than manning the few remaining "convenience center" dropoff sites.

In any event, I'd suggest to any rural residents reading this that it's high time we made our opinions known to the powers that be on this issue. 

 Mike Swaim



I met some volunteers at the Ferguson Rd convenience center over the weekend who gave me this survey. They asked me a number of questions about my opinions and didn't seem to be pushing any particular agenda aside from supporting rural residents voicing their opinions.Personally, I'm curious what kind of changes are afoot here. I live in rural Orange and use the Ferguson Rd convenience center regularly. I've always been somewhat appalled by the fact that I can bring as much garbage as I want to this center without incurring any cost whatsoever. After living in many rural environs throughout my life, this this the first place I've found that doesn't charge some kind of bag or gate fee for dumping trash.I'd like to see some sort of user fee scheme introduced, though I do share the concerns about illegal dumping. That said, most user fees I've experienced for these services pale in comparison to the real effort and opportunity costs of hauling your own trash, so I don't think small user fees will actually create any kind of massive increase in illegal dumping (though it certainly should be closely examined).Personally, I have no interest in curbside service, nor do I want to bear any increased tax burden to provide it unless there is a compelling argument that I haven't seen.

Jstrope, what do you get now for the taxes you pay?We all pay some kind of extra fee for recyling (aka trash). If you want to charge some kind of trash fee then reduce my property taxes dollar for dollar. When I moved to this county 25 years ago there were 40 plus green box sites open 24/7 where there are only 5 sites with attendants now. That almost became 4 sites a month ago but Orange County Voice and others spoke up at the BOCC and this was delayed so it could be studied more.So if you live in the rural area fill out the survey by Oct. 24th. Orange county Voice is your neighbors volunteering their time to give the rural area a voice.

Popplax,I'm not entirely sure what I get now for the taxes I pay. I do know I get curbside recycling pickup (which I could do without) and a convenience center at which I can drop my trash and recycling (which I would prefer not to do without).Personally, I'd be all for a decoupling of property taxes and the county's waste handing responsibilities, generating revenue instead from user fees at both landfill and convenience center sites. This would mean, in theory, decreased property taxes and new waste drop-off fees. It would also mean, in theory, a linear relationship between the production of trash and the burden for paying for its handling. Of course, outside of theory, there are numerous practical issues to consider. But I fail to see why property taxation is the only or even the best way to cover waste processing expenses.In no way am I suggesting you personally have some inherent obligation to pay additional taxes or fees for services you don't use or need or want. I'm merely suggesting that I'd be interested in seeing the revenue streams for these services be restructured.

As a footnote when the County added the recycling fee our property taxes did not go down. It would be interesting to see the brake down of trash both income and expense. I think allot of folks would be surprised how far we are in the red on reclying. Our BOCC is alaways interested in growing the pie with little regard from where the money is coming from.

Poppalax,I don't know the numbers as to how much (whether?) the County subsidizes recycling  but any evaluation will hopefully take into account whether the recycling efforts have postponed the "drop dead" date for the landfill.

Tipping fees use to pay for recycling before the fee was added to our property tax bill. Curbside recycling outside of the towns is not cost effective. Give me one of those orange boxes and I will be happy.As for the impact recycling has had on the landfill that is difficult question to answer. The construction waste is a bigger impact which is separated now. Cardboard is reclyed also but little of that comes from households. I am sure there are others reading this that could provide more info than me.

Several years ago, Orange County began requiring that construction waste be sorted and levied fines for mixed loads. The result was that a huge percentage of hauling companies began hauling waste out of Orange County to Wake and other landfills. This represents a tremendous amount of the trash reduction that Orange County is so proud of. It also points out that one jurisdiction cannot take unilateral action on something like this and expect to be successful.

I too live in unincorporated Orange County (within Carrboro's ETJ). For my county taxes, I get to take my trash to Ferguson Road, free of charge. I get curbside recycling which I appreciate but could live without. I also get outstanding fire and emergency services and a very responsive sheriff's office. In addition, I can call the library and get just about any book I want delivered to the Cybrary for no extra charge. During the winter, the county plows my neighborhood road after snow or ice. If I had children, I would probably move farther out of town so that they could go to Orange County schools instead of CHCCS schools. My neighbor, who is much older than I, has a reliable source of transportation (OPT) and access to an excellent senior center where she does her exercising and socializing. I'm sure there's much more than I've listed.My only concern with trash is that we find a way to dispose of it within the county.

FYIthe county does not do any of the upkeep or plowing the snow of the public roads. i dont think the county has to spend any of the county revenue for anything to do with the public roads. That is done at the state level and from state funds such as gas tax, and other revenue sources.  Now the towns has some streets  that they have to maintain and they get money from the gas tax based upon miles of road and population. But some streets in the cities such as Churton Street in Hillsborough are maintained by the state

Ms. Buckner,I live farther out than you and have kids in the County Schools. For myself I breakdown the question of what taxes should pay for into levels.Providing an education, somewhere to take my trash (free), Someone answering and responding to 911 calls, and some soical service needs are my level 1. Even when I have no kids in school at some date.Recreation & Parks and library services which in my opinion is screwed up presently. We should have one system with two branches one in Hillsborough and the other in Chapel Hill with mobile book units they use to have before internet was widely available. These are in my level  2.


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