Alternative report

Hoosiers who value recycling and other services provided by solid waste management districts should tell their Senators to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 210, according to the Monroe County district's Media and Education Director Elisa K. Pokral.

SB 210, introduced by State Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, proposes elimination of the taxing authority of solid waste management districts, Pokral said in a Jan. 27, 2011, news release. Professionals, business owners, council representatives, mayors, town councillors, county commissioners, county councilors are especially needed to call for No votes on the bill.

"The reality is sending funding (both property tax and user fees) to the county does not in any way ensure that that money will find its way back to solid waste, recycling, household hazardous waste, emergency management, education or other programming.""The bill states that the funding of the districts would be shifted to counties," she said. "However, the reality is sending funding (both property tax and user fees) to the county does not in any way ensure that that money will find its way back to solid waste, recycling, household hazardous waste, emergency management, education or other programming. With county budget shortfalls, it is likely that those funds will be absorbed in other county priorities."

The bill is detrimental for all solid waste districts currently funded through property taxes and user fees, she said. Its requirement of “minimum standards” for services comes will little detail and even less teeth to enforce it, leaving constituents and communities without much-needed and expected services.

"Another critical element in the bill is that if the funding is sent to the counties, it completely leaves out input from cities and towns that is now so critical in programming," she wrote.

That solid waste districts have not been evaluated for 22 years was misstated by senators at a committed hearing, Pokral said.

"The fact is that the legislature has evaluated solid waste districts regularly, updating and revising the statute and evaluating the value of the districts," she said, citing other misrepresentations from district opponents. "There is no truth to the fact that districts were given autonomy (local rule) on programs and funding. There is no truth to the fact that there hasn’t been significant oversight throughout the 22 year life of solid waste districts by local elected officials, IDEM, and the state legislature."

The bill is scheduled for a full committee vote on Jan. 30, she said.

"It is also important that others who have a lot to lose, be it teachers who utilize district education assistance, MS4 communities and residents who value district programs contact their Senator to vote NO on SB 210, she said. "Citizens need to call 1.800.382.9467 and ask their Senators: 'What are you doing to our solid waste programs?! Are you going to trash Indiana?'”


For more information

Elisa K. Pokral
812.349.2020, ext. 2866
epokral@mcswmd.org