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New trash bag arrangement aims for convenience, city manager says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new arrangement to distribute trash bags to Charleston residents is meant to provide convenience, the city manager said Monday.The deal with Waste Zero Inc. for $320,000 will also save the city about $35,000 a year, according to David Molgaard.Starting around September, residents who've received a voucher can pick up the black bags used for trash -- and clear bags for recycling -- at retail stores around the city.In another six months, the bags will again be available for pickup.City officials also won't set just one particular day to pick up trash bags, Molgaard said.In the past, the city designated one day and one location for residents to pick up the bags."They will be where people generally do their shopping. ... They won't have to make a special trip," he said. Waste Zero will handle the distribution, which, in turn, saves the city money on overtime pay, among other things, Molgaard said. And even though the county is saving money, the quality of the bags will be better, an official with the company said, adding that the bags will have a drawstring tie.Four city council members, however, don't support providing citizens with trash bags and voted against the measure.Councilman Chris Dodrill said he thinks it's a waste of money, adding that the new manager of the recycling center will have to discard of the clear plastic bags because the bags aren't compatible with new recycling equipment."It should have been a reduction at least.
"It's a lot of money -- almost a million dollars over three years," he said. "We have a lot of plans to keep the city moving forward and [the money] could be spent on better things."Council members Courtney Persinger, Shannon Snodgrass and Mary Beth Hoover also voted against it.But Councilman Robert Sheets noted after the meeting that if the bags aren't handed out, the city would suffer."In poor neighborhoods [trash] ends up on the streets. He lives on Quarrier," Sheets said, referring to Dodrill. Sheets lives on Jackson Street.
"It's an important program that helps keep the city looking good," he said.In other business, council members approved the Charleston Civic Center's 2013-14 fiscal year budget in the amount of about $5.37 million.Civic Center General Manager John Robertson told members of council's finance committee that 72 percent of the operating budget is fixed expenses, like salaries, utilities and insurance."It's very similar to last year," he said about the numbers.Roberts said meetings haven't been in much demand at the Civic Center, but that concerts and other activities have been increasing.Reach Kate White at 304-348-1723 or
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