Originally created 02/21/99

Aiken may pay city to handle its waste



AIKEN -- The city of Aiken is considering a contract to process its commercial waste through North Augusta's recycling center.

If Aiken City Council approves the agreement, Aiken would pay $22.75 a ton to North Augusta for waste that gets recycled in the Materials Recovery Facility. The city now pays $25 a ton to bury commercial waste at the Three Rivers Regional Landfill at New Ellenton, although half of it could be recycled, Aiken City Manager Roger LeDuc said.

Under the proposed arrangement, Aiken would deliver to North Augusta all the waste collected from commercial establishments on regular trash and garbage routes. MRF workers would separate the recyclables and deliver the rest to Three Rivers, where the $25 rate still would apply, but for significantly less material. North Augusta would pay for dumping at Three Rivers and bill Aiken for reimbursement.

Aiken's Solid Waste Division estimates that the five-year contract would save the city $20,000 a year in disposal fees. Since the trip to New Ellenton is 12 miles further than North Augusta, the city expects to save 20,000 miles or $20,000 in vehicular costs and 600 personnel hours as well.

The city council also will discuss a proposal that would allow young drivers who get stopped for first offenses to avoid going to court and paying more for insurance.

The idea still is in formative stages, but it likely would involve eight hours of community service and eight hours in classes about traffic safety and driving techniques, taught by trained public safety personnel with a $30 fee to cover costs.

Youths who complete the program would avoid points against their drivers' licenses and save the price of their traffic tickets and insurance increases up to $350 a year for three years. Those who don't would have to face the consequences in city court.

Council members will hear a tentative proposal about the sentencing alternative in a work session before Monday's regular meeting. They could add it to that night's agenda or ask staff to refine the plan outlined in a memo from Mr. LeDuc.

Work sessions often are used to float such trial balloons.

Sentencing options already are offered first offenders for minor infractions that do not involve driving. In that program, an offender receives instruction about South Carolina criminal systems, visit local jails, attend classes and pay restitution to victims of their crimes.

Mr. LeDuc said the proposed alternative to sentencing in traffic court would work the same way.

Aiken City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building on Park Avenue.

Margaret N. O'Shea covers the city of Aiken for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.