Carrboro will spend $30,000 to study how the town could collect food and other organic waste for composting to reduce materials headed to a landfill.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Aldermen voted to spend the money on the study, which will also provide information about whether a pay-as-you-throw system could reduce the amount of material people send to a landfill.
The idea is that charging people based on how much garbage they generate would encourage people to separate food and other organic materials for collection so it could be composted somewhere else.
Alderman Sammy Slade said he was interested in a system that would encourage and reward neighborhoods for participating in the plan. If a neighborhood reduced its waste stream, it could be credited with the savings and could use the money for neighborhood projects, he said.
Alderwoman Jacquie Gist said that if the town still taxed people to collect the garbage as well as charging them for how much they throw out, that would be double dipping.
Gist called pay-as-you-throw regressive, saying it would be adding one more utility charge for people who might not be able to afford to pay another $25 to $50 a month.
Some of the aldermen said they weren’t sold on pay-as-you-throw, but said they were interested in learning whether the town could find ways to collect and compost organic materials.
All the aldermen except Gist voted to spend $30,000 on the study.
In other news from Tuesday's meeting:
• The board heard from Michael Adamson, who proposed the idea of painting a mural on the 1,000 foot wall that runs next to the off ramp on N.C. 54 and around the corner on Jones Ferry Road.
The mural would have to be approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation, but Adamson wanted an endorsement from the aldermen to continue to working toward painting a mural on the wall.
"I totally love this idea," said Alderwoman Michelle Johnson.
The idea would be to engage people who live nearby and community organizations in designing and painting the wall, Adamson said. Michael Brown, who has painted many murals in the Chapel Hill & Carrboro area, would be involved in the design and painting.
Adamson said he hopes the mural could be painted next spring.
The aldermen liked the idea and voted unanimously to move forward with the project. The mural has its own Facebook page at facebook.com/carrboromural.
• The aldermen also gave feedback to the Affordable Housing Task Force, which is working on a plan to increase affordable home ownership and rental opportunities in Carrboro.
Some of thing things the aldermen asked the task force to consider in developing its plan is zoning, a bond referendum to raise funds for affordable housing, allowing modular homes and changing the requirement for open space.
The aldermen will discuss strategies for affordable rentals and hold a public hearing at future meetings.