ALPENA - Property owners in Alpena County pay a $10 surcharge on their taxes to help subsidize the local recycling program. For their money they get access to recycling bins throughout the county, use of the transfer station and are allowed to take part in the annual cleanup day.
This year's Alpena Area Wide Clean-up Day will take place on May 17 and provide residents an opportunity to get rid of old furniture, tires, electronic items and white items such as washing machines and ovens.
Alpena Township Supervisor Marie Twite, who is on the Alpena recycling board, said this is the 12th year a county-wide cleanup day has been held and is a good way for people to dispose of materials from spring cleaning.
"People love this because it gives them the opportunity to clean out their basement, garage or attic and get rid of it in the proper manner," Twite said. "It also helps people who may not be ale to afford to get rid of large items like mattresses, appliances, couches, water heaters, old televisions and stuff like that."
Twite said in the past a lot of old tires were dropped off at the transfer station on M-32 West. She said this year there is a 10 tire limit per household and only a $1 charge for each tire containing a rim. She said hazardous materials such as paint, or household trash will not be accepted. Twite said the county's decision to implement the $10 surcharge to supplement the recycling program was a good decision. Twite said she believes the people are getting what they are paying for and more.
"It really is a bargain and it is a shame that there are people that choose to opt out and not take advantage of the services and what we offer," Twite said. "We are always looking for ways to improve the program and offer more. If everyone would opt into the program it would allow us to do more and make it more self sustaining but with $10 we are doing everything we can to give people their moneys worth. We are always looking for ways to take other types of items, but we're not there yet."
People who have opted out of the surcharge still can bring items to the transfer station, but they will be charged for them. Twite said people should be expecting to have their identifications checked to be sure someone who hasn't paid for the service isn't trying to slip in for free.
"If you have opted out, you will not be able to utilize it for free. You can pay your $10 at the transfer station when you bring in your items, but we have a master list and will be checking drivers licenses," Twite said. "If someone chooses to pay, then they will be entitled to the services the recycling program offers."
On regular business days the paid staff at the transfer station handles the materials that are brought in. Twite said on the day of the cleanup volunteers will be the ones doing the work and dealing with the customers.
"We will have elected officials out there giving us a hand and many others," Twite said. "We have a great time and have a lot of fun. It is a great way to help people clean up around their homes and keep the area clean. If someone wants to help we would appreciate an extra hand."
The transfer station will be open at 8 a.m. and close at 1 p.m. Donations that will be used toward the recycling program will also be accepted.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.