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Posted on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Recycle Ann Arbor asks city for rate hike after 40-percent shortfall in projected collection

By Ryan J. Stanton

Expectations for Ann Arbor's new single-stream recycling program — launched in July 2010 — have proven overly optimistic, and city officials now say the nonprofit organization responsible for curbside collection of recycling carts is hurting financially because of it.

Tom McMurtrie, the city's solid waste coordinator, wrote in a memo to City Council members that the single-stream recycling program has increased recycling tonnages collected in Ann Arbor, but not to the extent that was projected in the business case used to calculate Recycle Ann Arbor's compensation over a year ago.

He said the nonprofit organization received $337,527 less than it expected from its contract with the city this past year.


A worker separates recyclable items at the city's Materials Recovery Facility.

File photo

As a result, the Ann Arbor City Council was asked Tuesday night to consider a contract change to increase the fees it pays to Recycle Ann Arbor. But the proposal to change the per-month tipping fee from $3.25 to $3.55 per cart for 4 years failed to garner enough support to pass.

Council Members Stephen Kunselman, Carsten Hohnke, Mike Anglin and Sabra Briere joined forces to oppose the increase, which would have boosted Recycle Ann Arbor's pay by an estimated $107,042 annually at current recycling levels.

Sandi Smith and Margie Teall were absent.

McMurtrie said the number of recycling carts deployed as part of the single-stream program is 9.2 percent lower than initial projections that anticipated 32,779 carts being deployed. The actual number is 29,734, he said.

The main reason for the lower-than-expected number, McMurtrie said, is that many of the smaller, multi-family residential units that were previously using the 11-gallon recycling totes are able to share recycling carts. In addition, he said, it was discovered there was inadvertent double-counting of some residential units in the original projections.

The number of collected tons projected by the city's recycling consultant for fiscal year 2010-11 was 18,425. The actual number is somewhere closer to 10,800 tons, a 40 percent shortfall, according to data provided by McMurtrie.

McMurtrie said those projections were based on per-household generation rates provided by RecycleBank that were from communities that had a much larger percentage of single-family homes than Ann Arbor, which has almost 50 percent multi-family.

On the positive side, he said, the actual tonnage collected is still a 20 percent increase over the number of tons that were collected in the previous year with two-stream recycling.

The cost to the city — even with an increase in tipping fees — would be $151,443 less than the $1.6 million the city paid to Recycle Ann Arbor in fiscal year 2009-10, the last year of two-stream recycling, McMurtrie said. He said funds were available in the solid waste budget.

According to McMurtrie, Recycle Ann Arbor is struggling financially because of the shortfall and has taken steps to cut operating expenses, including renegotiating a driver union contract and decreasing staffing levels, among other efficiencies.

The group's financial filings indicate that its income was $5.49 million in 2009, down from $5.6 million a year earlier. It had operating deficits of $468,911 in 2008 and $161,774 in 2009.

Read the resolution.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Mon, Jul 11, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

I have to balance my check book too - pass me the "rosy glasses" . . . .

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

@Patricia Lesko: You stated that Resource Recycling Systems Inc. is &quot;owned&quot; by David Stead. This is not accurate. I don't know whether he literally holds a share in the company, but he is merely one of several principals. James Frey is the CEO. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I agree that David Stead's strong presence on the Environmental Commission (with a portfolio in solid waste) and his position with RRSI appears to be a conflict of interest, given the city's history of single-source contracts with RRSI on solid waste matters.

Patricia Lesko

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

@Paula Gardner: You wrote in response to @Alan Goldsmith's question: I just took a quick spin through the 2010 campaign finance filing for the mayor on the county's website: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And did find 2: $150 from David Stead, listed as chair on the RAA 2009 report $100 from Michael Garfield, listed as secretary on the same filing This was out of $16,276 in total donations. Yes, but look at the OTHER names and compare the list to the names of people on all of the city's boards and commissions. the DDA is a great example. How many of them gave to Hieftje? All but one, and those donations amount to a significant portion of that $16,276. Keep digging.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 10:21 a.m.

Thanks for beating me to the punch. I haven't had time to go back to 1990 and add up the Garfield and Stead numbers either.

Patricia Lesko

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

@Maxwell P. Yes, I was right. I was also right that the underground parking garage will be paid for with tax dollars not parking revenue, and that Ann Arbor's city staffers need to be much more closely supervised by their managers, and that the city administrator needs to be much more closely supervised by Council. I was also right that Ann Arbor has a spending, not a revenue problem. Recycle Ann Arbor got a no bid contract, which is never in the best interests of taxpayers. Council extended it for a decade (again without bidding it out). RRS is owned by David Stead, a member of the city's Environmental Commission (which recommended the move to single-stream) and he was given the contract—a clear ethics violation and, as this article shows, not in the best interests of taxpayers. Ann Arbor is a great city whose parks, roads, bridges and citizen services should be in a lot better shape. They're not, because Ann Arbor city government shows the signs of incredible mismanagement from the top down. I would have surely pushed to cut city managers' $1.1 million cell phone perk, meals, $17K per month car allowances and travel before I ever would vote for a budget that cut city services (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

I guess I should not have questioned the IQ of those &quot;working&quot; at the drop off station the couple days a week it is open. The next time I go and they are closed I will leave my donation in the drive! They have you dump so much trash on the ground anyway you can't get near the bins!


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

So Patricia Lesko was was right!

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

This borders on organized criminal activity on the part of council and this &quot;non-profit&quot; organization. I hope there's a thorough investigation by an independent party.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

This is crony capitalism at its finest. My profits are mine. My losses will be made up by my friends in office. This is what happens in a single party worker's paradise. If their business model was that far off, let 'em fail.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Interesting background on Mr. Garfield and the financial tangle of the Ecology Center, Recycle Ann Arbor and the money issues.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

You are referencing Lesko to make a point? Faulty.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

RecycleBank is supported by Coca-Cola; and the last I checked, &quot;Killer Coke&quot; was NOT 501(c)3. RecycleBank &quot;coupons&quot; are as much a reward for recycling as your CitiBucks are for using your credit card. But it sure sounded good as a selling point, didn't it! Cut the promo crap and just give us some basic services. No &quot;RFID&quot; garbage bins needed.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

I feel SO bad for Ann Arbor City Council. They make all these tough finacial decisions and consitently under estimate the costs. The same thing happened with the new court building. Who could have anticipated that the court would need furniture in it!!!!! It makes it SO hard to plan a budget. If only there were more money. I hope the Mayor is 'comfortable' with laying off another 6-8 cops or firefighters to make up this 'shortfall.'


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

This is an unfortunate situation. Recycle Ann Arbor is one of the last recycling operations in the country that is not-for-profit. It is an award-winning, nationally recognized operation and I, for one, would like to see it survive, particularly if the alternative is to bring in a for-profit waste management firm.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

We've had opportunity to really recycle in the past, but the City and the State have turned a deft ear. Single stream recycling uses one can; the trash can! As I've seen in the south and the west, all trash is recyclable. Rule 1. All materials are recyclable. #2 All materials must be stored until market demand is at it's highest. 3. You must hire a company that is competent and courageous enough to get the job done. 4. The State of Michigan must close all land fills operated by a lobby organized crime. Until then it's only a utopian pipe dream.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Since we are trading experiences with Recycle Bank, here is mine: A while back, I tried to sign up. The procedure was extremely tortuous, confusing and user-unfriendly. After much wasted time, I was told that I was successfully registered and would receive an e-mail. When the e-mail came (after a long delay), it informed me that my address was not on their list. Rather remarkable, in that I live within the City of Ann Arbor which supplied me with a recycle can, and that the can is emptied weekly by a truck. I figured that the &quot;rewards&quot; were unlikely to be worth anything anyway, as a number of posts here confirm, so I did not follow up.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

Is my math wrong or are we only talking about $3.60 per year more? I get that it's the principle and there is an opportunity to stick it to them for making a bad deal. But if the result is they cut and run when the contract runs out and we have to go back to those little bins in a couple years, in my opinion it's worth giving up a couple cups of coffee per year to keep the convenience of the carts.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Your math is wrong. What was rejected was an increase in the fee paid by the city to RAA for each cart, not an increase in cost to users. As the story says, that would be over $100,000 a year more (from the city).

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

The city has invested $6million in carts, trucks and the recycling station. They are not going to go back to the totes.

Long Time No See

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

City council: please cancel the Recyclebank contract and ban Resource Recycling Systems from working for the city.

David Cahill

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

So since the 10,800 tons for FY 2010-11 was a 20% increase over the previous fiscal year, that means 9,000 tons the previous year. I always thought the coupon program was dumb. I have an iMac. I never tried to print the coupons. It is plainly unacceptable for the City to have contracted with a firm that generates coupons that you can't print on a Macintosh. Ann Arbor is full of Macintoshes.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I have no problem printing anything from my 3 different Macs. Recycele bank has been highly successful everywhere else. I think poor accounting is more to blame then you not being able to print coupons.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

From Mr. Stanton's original article in Nov. 2009: Do it: &quot;The City Council voted unanimously Thursday night...will cost more than $4.6 million to implement&quot;. Savings: &quot;Single-stream recycling will allow residents and businesses... we'll see a significant increase in the amount of waste that we're diverting from landfills and therefore the cost that we incur in taking waste to landfills&quot;. FollowThru: 'we'll have an opportunity to generate additional revenue from a greater volume in the recycling stream and to provide additional services to neighboring municipalities and help spread recycling beyond Ann Arbor.&quot; Payback: &quot;...the city is expecting payback within seven years&quot; Seems the city entered into a contract promising certain waste and recycling stream rates which were not met. What I would like to see is a new analysis and model based on the 1.5 years worth of actual data. What are the projected stream rates, the shifts from landfill to recycle, and the new payback period if the city compensates Recycle AA for the reduced recycle stream with and without changing the landfill tipping cost. I do not want to live in a city that does not recycle at the curb.

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

There are 2 posts on this blog that carefully analyzed single stream recycling <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> They are several posts down the page.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Is this the same organization that is giving us service cut backs at the Drop Off Station? How much has the council looked at how effectively their management is handling things?

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

The service cutbacks at the Drop-off Station are because the City Council stopped contracting for the service. In other words, they stopped paying for it, which means Recycle Ann Arbor and the citizens of Ann Arbor have to support the service by themselves.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

That would be a good question in reference to any City Department.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

If Recycle Ann Arbor can't manage this, let's find someone who will... So what if they go out of business? I shrug. It's not my job to keep them employed, though I will be angered by the city managers if my garbage doesn't get picked up in a timely way...


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

Scrap the stupid water feature for the new building and give the money to this poorly managed organization.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Hah, another gross miscalculation by the mayor and city council. They are more than willing to dole out money for their political pet projects, but god forbid we keep police and firefighters on the job.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Did recycle Ann Arbor sand bag the projection to set up the rate hike? Capitalism affords you the right to succeed and the right to fail. If Recycle Ann Arbor wants out let them out. Waste Management will be cheaper.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

Regarding the comment by Seth Penchansky about waiting for carts to be full: We tried that and noticed our RecycleBank rewards points were not awarded on the weeks we refrained from putting out our cart. The RecycleBank program works against increasing efficiencies - and I'm not sure the incentives increase recycling rates. I believe they read an Id chip in the cart and that triggers your reward. If they don't read the chip one week, you get no reward. Regarding Kevin Bolon's comment: I think you meant 'increase' tipping fees. I've always been in favor of attaching fees to waste disposal as a direct incentive to reduce waste. On walks around the neighborhood, some homeowners routinely have large amounts of trash and some have little or none each week.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

I agree - the amount of trash is often dependent on the number of people in the household. And, again, when people had to get rid of their own Christmas Trees, they appeared all over the place. I'd hate to see trash in all of the places I saw dumped trees.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

You are probably correct regarding the varying amounts of trash. However did you consider that some home may have a large family and another may have only 1 or 2 individuals? More people, more trash.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

I cannot believe how many folks are so concerned about the reward points! Aren't we recycling because it is the right thing to do? If rewards are your prime motivator, shop at Speedway.

Kevin Bolon

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

You're right, I mistyped. As you pointed out, the important thing is to create a direct financial link between individual households and real costs of waste generation and landfill disposal. The question of whether current tipping fees are too high or too low is beside the point.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

AA is getting what it deserves.....again. When are you people going to wake up and see what is going on around you?

Kevin Bolon

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

It's a little late for this now, but .... <a href=""></a>

Marvin Face

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Could you post that one more time, Kev? I missed it the first couple of times. thx!

Kevin Bolon

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

A main reason that single-stream is being promoted by some municipalities is that trucks are equipped with an automated arm, eliminating the need for a second worker on the truck and allowing drivers to stay in the seat, thus reducing the possibility of injury. The downside, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, is that it's not cost-effective to have things sorted at home, then mixed up in the bin, and then sorted again at the MRF (mostly by hand). I would like to find out what the levels of material contamination are, and how that affects the price per pound for the various materials that Recycle Ann Arbor receives. If the City really wants to increase recycling rates, reduce landfill tipping fees, and make the system pay for itself, we should be talking less about single-stream, Recycle Bank, and incentives for recycling, and instead adopt a pay-as-you-throw system for trash which would instantly accomplish all of these goals.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

I'd agree with you Kevin, if it weren't't for all of the Christmas Trees I saw &quot;dumped&quot; all around the city and surrounding areas last January.

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Single stream recycling is promoted by the waste management industry as an &quot;opportunity for growth&quot;. A main point of the 2010 Chicago conference on Residential Recycling was that cities must expect to pay more for recycling than simple disposal. The only way to make recycling pay for itself is to limit the recycling to those materials to those that have value, mainly metal and paper.

Kevin Bolon

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

<a href=""></a>

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Not mentioned in this story is Recyclebank. My experiences with that have been less than stellar. As a Mac user, I have found Recyclebank's reliance on software to be ridiculous. I can't get the rewards to print. That means I've had to either a) call Recyclebank to get my rewards, who then take two weeks(!) to send paper coupons, which sometimes have past-date expiration dates on them when I receive the rewards, or b) print the rewards on a Windows-based computer, which is not convenient. And the rewards choices are not very comprehensive. Cottage Inn had a &quot;buy one, get a second pizza free&quot; reward, but apparently that was too successful, as it disappeared after one month. The rest of the grocery and restaurant choices are not inspiring. It would be nice if someone responsible for this &quot;benefit&quot; worked on making it worthy of the term &quot;reward&quot;.

say it plain

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

you have to be kidding me! What a farce; I can't believe the city bought into this. Selling you credit cards and lame coupons for BOGO at Cottage Inn (which as I recall was available as the every MTW special for years lol). They get money for this?!

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

I knew recycle bank was a scam when right after registering my account they tried to sell me a visa card.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Glad I live in Ypsi.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Can anyone recall what the number was that the city council sold the public on that it would save by doing this? At some point, residents will wake up and see the track record of these morons in city hall. &quot;It'll save MILLIONS!&quot; ... &quot;I just hope no one every checks up on the project once we sold the lie.&quot;


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

One of the primary selling points was the increase in total volume of waste recycled, which has indeed occurred, a 20% increase. That's 20% less that we have to pay to dump in a landfill.

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

I do not believe the city staff ever claimed there would be a savings. Ms McCormick danced around the issue promising a &quot;return to fund balance&quot; in 6 years. She never stated what that meant or how it would be achieved. The main argument was &quot;real cities like Detroit and Cleveland have single stream recycling Ann Arbor must too&quot; Aand &quot;it will only cost about $6million.&quot;


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

I just love being &quot;GREEN&quot; and saving the Planet! The City Council had a great idea and now it doesn't work! I am glad that I am not voting for these people, Please Think before you Vote in the Primary election in August. Lets clean House and get some smarter people in city council!


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

I hope not....and if I can keep it from happening, I will

Buster W.

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Unfortunately, there will just be more of the same.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

In the words of a famous Mayberry resident. SURPRISE SURPRISE!


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Figure it out within the organization that blew the projections. Accountability please.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Bad consultant...but it's still a really good program and I LOVE the carts vs. the evil, hard-to-lift, always-cracking totes of yesteryear.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

Id agree if I still didnt see trucks with two people riding in them (I had the discussion with two other residents as we watched one go by, hopefully it was training or something . . .

Long Time No See

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Carts are good &amp; greater automation/efficiency is good. Recyclebank is bad.

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

What is Tom McMurtrie's salary? Is that open to the public?

Seth Penchansky

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

A simple way to reduce costs is to educate users to only put their cart out when it is full. This allows the trucks to make less stops, saving fuel and time. If more of us did this, the time savings would allow a reduction in driver hours.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

I completely agree. Where as with the little bins we were forced to put them out every week, now I find our giant obnoxious recycling bin only goes out every 3 weeks or so. ( I intentionally did NOT sign up for the stupid gimmick or recycle bank)


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Citizens should be educated and motivated to recycle without points. Neighbors could easily share when each has a light load.

Long Time No See

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

Except that Recyclebank encourages the opposite behavior. By not putting out your cart, you lose out on the &quot;points&quot; you would get even if your cart has only a single sheet of paper in it. Of course, Recyclebank is essentially useless - it takes weeks to get coupons mailed, if they ever show up at all. In addition, for the most part, the &quot;deals&quot; one gets with Recyclebank aren't any better than normal coupons and sales that the merchants use for promotion anyway. The city got scammed by Recyclebank. The city should consider replacing McMurtrie.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

I agree. I didn't understand them encouraging people to put it up for &quot;points&quot; but not when it was completely full. Seemed like a silly concept and one that wasted money....guess so.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

Hilariously sad!!! The mayor will not fork over $400,000 to keep safety service layoffs from happening. But a not for profit organization says they screwed up on the counting of a contracted service and asks for an additional $150,000/year and the mayor is all over supporting that! Way to get those priorities straight!!!!!


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

Another case of the liberal fleecing of Ann Arbor.

Joseph Lewis

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

NO! Not a penny more! Enough!

Brian Kuehn

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

First, the names of the Mayor and council members supporting the amendment should be listed. Let's have it on the record in black and white. If you support something the record should reflect that. Second, this is pretty disappointing. I do not recall any comments from the City or Recycle Ann Arbor about this shortfall in the past year. Only positive reviews were given to the program even though it must have been clear early on that there was a problem. Missing the mark by 40% is ridiculous. Some of the reasons given for the error seem pretty obvious in hindsight and my expectation would have been that a competent consultant should have recognized these factors and provided a more conservative number. Of course, the consultant RecycleBank, was trying to sell us a $1,000,000 contract so it was in their interest to inflate the projections. If Recycle Ann Arbor was given poor estimates from the City and consultants, then it is reasonable to rewrite the contract terms. If the error was caused by Recycle Ann Arbor , then they are going to have to suck it up and live with the consequences. We also need to revisit the deal with RecycleBank. In light of their major errors in developing the projections, they should be called upon to contribute to the solution.

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

You are being too generous in the evaluation. I believe the recycled material in 2010 was about 9,000 tons. Tom McMurtrie estimated the program would increase tonnage to 18,000 tons, an increase of 100%. The actual increase was only 20%. To me that is a shortfall of 80% not 40%.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

well said


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

So the amount collected was 20 percent more than the previous year, yet it was still 40 percent below their projections? A little overly optimistic on the projections maybe?

average joe

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

Tom McMurtrie, the city's solid waste coordinator listed many &quot;excuses&quot; as to why the projections from a consultant were so far off. Did he, or the consultant realize these errors AFTER their projection numbers didn't come close to actual? Or did they just not double check their facts &amp; figures before they presented them to the city when the program was originally considered?


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

I suspect that if they lowered the fee for people to drop off oil, etc at their Ellswoth location they would INCREASE revenue there...

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

another important question in my mind is the cost difference between picking up and disposing of my recycling versus my trash/garbage.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:18 a.m.

Reminds me of a lot of cable and telephone service companies. They offer a great deal to get you in the door. Then, after a year or so they reduce the level of service or impose a rate hike. Because of the imposition of switching and paying new hook-up fees, I would guess most people go along with it.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

I have another perspective. Given the requirement of carts..and the &quot;community standards&quot; requirement that such carts be put in some designated place, how many people have just simply declined to participate? I ask because I used to live in a very very large condo complex where each unit had a cart but they were required to be out of view from the street - which made it enough of a pain that MOST of the people in units that were not on the ends of the buildings declined to participate. Recycling has added to the number of carts now required AND outside space in incredibly limited. Essentially the rules surrounding this issue made it so that some people found themselves trundling their city-mandated garbage and recycling carts through their homes. So, how many of the large complexes have seen a significant drop in participation? btw...we were told that for those who were disabled, the city would haul the carts, which never came true because &quot;it was too far and took too much time&quot;. Gotta love the irony righT?


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

My condo association has the same general rule, and I know I definitely HATE having to fit both a giant trash bin and recycling bin into my narrow one car garage.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:51 a.m.

I would also like to know: 1. What, if any, business background do the managers of Recycle Ann Arbor have? 2. What other companies out there are doing this type of work? Can they be brought in in case Recycle Ann Arbor fails? Also, who is asking the City Council for the contract change? Is it McMurtrie? Recycle Ann Arbor? The use of the passive voice in the sentence, &quot;As a result, the Ann Arbor City Council was asked Tuesday night to consider a contract change to increase the fees it pays to Recycle Ann Arbor,&quot; does not make it clear who is doing the asking. AnnArbor.Com should get hold of Recycle Ann Arbor's financial statement and analyze where the money's going. Without that information, it's nearly impossible to tell if the fee increase is warranted or not.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

What is interesting in this issue is the missed projections by the recycling consultant. This is not the first time that someone has been burned by a failure of an expert to provide a more quality result. Our city council needs tp pay close attention to this and resist the urge to use consultants in the future.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

How much was paid to this &quot;recycling consultant&quot;?

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 10:18 a.m.

Question. Has any board member of Recycle Ann Arbor make political contributions in the past or worked on a political campaign for either the Mayor or anyone currently on City Council?

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

The limit is $500 for local candidates. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Paula, isn't there a $200 limit to contributions per election cycle?

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

From 9/28/2010: &quot;Hieftje mentioned he has been endorsed by leading environmentalists, including Mike Garfield, director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, and groups like Clean Water Action and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters&quot;. <a href=""></a>

glenn thompson

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Mike Garfield is always a strong support of the Mayor.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

The last time I checked (over a year ago), David Stead was also an employee at Resource Recycling Systems, the consultant who recommended this arrangement to the city. Stead has also been continually reappointed to the Environmental Commission, where he is essentially the entire solid waste subcommittee. Michael Garfield is the executive director of the Ecology Center, which is the owner of Recycle Ann Arbor.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 11:08 a.m.

I just took a quick spin through the 2010 campaign finance filing for the mayor on the county's website: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And did find 2: $150 from David Stead, listed as chair on the RAA 2009 report $100 from Michael Garfield, listed as secretary on the same filing This was out of $16,276 in total donations.