Chapel Hill News

Chapel Hill Town Council backs flat fee for Orange County recycling program

The Town Council voted 6-1 Monday to go along with other Orange County governments and charge a flat $103 fee next year for recycling.

Council member George Cianciolo was absent. Council member Jim Ward voted no, standing by his earlier preference for a two-tier fee charging $94 a year to urban property owners and $118 a year to rural property owners.

Carrboro, Hillsborough and Orange County leaders also must approve the plan and have backed a flat fee in previous conversations.

Both options would help expand rural curbside recycling to the entire county over the next three years, increasing the annual cost but potentially improving the county’s recycling rate.

The new fee would go into effect July 1 and raise roughly $6.2 million for the recycling program. The county would use about $1.8 million from its operating fund to cover the rest. The governments will review the fee’s effects after a year to see if changes are needed.

Property owners would pay the fee with their county property taxes, and landlords could pass it onto their renters. Durham County residents who live in the Chapel Hill town limits would receive a bill from Orange County. The fee wouldn’t apply to undeveloped or UNC land.