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ORANGE : City OKs Trash Fee Hike Despite Protests

After postponing action at two previous meetings, the City Council last week voted 5 to 0 to approve an increase in sanitation fees to help pay for a new material-recovery facility slated to open April 1.

The average single-family residence will see monthly sanitation bills increase by $1.04, bringing them to about $15.

Despite opposition from a dozen speakers over three different hearings, the council decided last week that the city must have the fee hike in order to meet a state mandate to divert 25% of its garbage from landfills by 1995. If it fails to satisfy the goal, the city could be fined up to $10,000 a day.

“I think this is wrong,” said Carole Walters, president of the Orange Taxpayers Assn. “The taxpayer out there is mad, and they will show it” at election time.

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But council members contended that their votes were dictated by the state mandate. “I think it’s apparent no one likes rate increases,” said Councilman Mark Murphy. “From my perspective, there is not a lot of choice here.”

The new facility will be able to process up to 1,500 tons of waste per day. But city officials estimate that Orange will use only a third of the facility’s capacity.

The city is negotiating to sell use of the facility to neighboring cities.

“We have excess capacity, and we are looking for customers,” said Phil Pierce of the Public Works Department.


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