Although the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s proposed $4.2 million budget for fiscal year 2020 represents a $1 million increase over the current budget, it does not include a hike in the rate charged per ton for waste disposal.

The authority’s proposal largely represents an increase of about $585,000 in operating expenses at the Ivy Material Utilization Center. With an allocation of $1.9 million, the MUC represents 46% of the authority’s estimated expenses, according to a statement from the RSWA’s executive director, Bill Mawyer. Increases at Ivy include the addition of two attendants and an expansion of the site’s operating schedule.

Capital projects also include $515,000 for the construction of the Ivy Convenience Center, a revamped area for the public to drop off certain recyclables, compostable food waste and other household waste, according to the executive summary of the budget.

Albemarle County will see an increase in its payment to the RSWA of $462,500, bringing its share to $1.7 million. The city of Charlottesville is budgeted to pay nearly $492,000, an increase of about $285,000, and the University of Virginia pays a flat fee of about $80,000. The remainder of the budget is projected to be made up by tipping fees and other sales, according to a presentation on the budget at Tuesday’s RSWA board meeting.

One of the increases in expenditures is about $80,000 over the current budget of $452,500 for recycling. Mawyer said Thursday that the increase comes from salary and benefit increases, more employee resources at the McIntire Recycling Center and Paper Sort Facility and an increase in grinding costs for vegetative yard waste.

“We expect an increase in the total tonnage of products we recycle to continue to increase over the next year, which results in additional net costs,” Mawyer said.

On July 1, the RSWA no longer will accept No. 3 through No. 7 plastics until there once again is a market for them. These plastics — which include PVC piping, vehicular plastics and acrylic — were shipped to China until its government closed the market.

“Those products represent only about 10% of the plastics we recycle, and about 0.5% of the total products we recycle,” Mawyer said.

Despite the increase in the budget, an expansion in the operating hours of the Ivy MUC and a previously approved reduction in tipping fees for non-individual customers are expected in part to offset the change.

On Jan. 1, the RSWA reduced its rates for municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris from $66 per to $52 per ton. The decrease moved the authority from the highest rates in the region to the average, Phil McKalips, director of solid waste, said in December. Tipping fees in the region range from $45 in Augusta County to $57 in Fluvanna County.

All other tipping fees will remain the same, with the exception of pallet recycling. Instead of being ground up with mulch, pallets now will be disposed of with other waste because it did not mesh well with the other wood waste, officials said at Tuesday’s meeting.

The RSWA in March began a pilot program of operating the MUC six days a week. The proposal partially was made in response to the increase in use at the facility after the tipping fee reduction. The RSWA board is scheduled to vote in August on whether to make opening on Mondays permanent.

“With lower fees and an expanded operating schedule (open on Monday), the new Transfer Station is receiving 2.7 times more [municipal solid waste] and [construction and demolition debris] tonnage than in prior years,” the executive summary states.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 28 in the main conference room of the RSWA’s administration building at 695 Moores Creek Lane.

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Elliott Robinson

Elliott Robinson has spent nearly 15 years in journalism and joined Charlottesville Tomorrow as its news editor in August 2018 through 2021. He is a graduate of Christopher Newport University.

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