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January 27, 2012

Tucker: urge senators to vote no on SB 210

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Below, Jorell Tucker of the Whitley County Solid Waste 

If you value the services of solid waste management districts in Indiana, the districts ask that you call your Senators TODAY, and continue until January 31, 2012. Call 1-800-382-9467 by Monday January 30th to tell all Senators to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 210. SB 210 is Senator Beverly Gard’s legislation which proposes to eliminate the taxing authority of solid waste management districts. Professionals, business owners, council representatives, mayors, town councilors, county commissioners, county councilors are especially needed to call their Senators to ask them to vote NO on the bill.

The bill states that the funding of the districts would be shifted to counties. 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. Therefore, the bill is detrimental for all solid waste districts currently funded through property taxes and user fees. The 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 and that is so critical in programming.

In the committee hearing, it was misstated that solid waste districts have not been evaluated for 22 years. The fact is that the legislature has evaluated solid waste districts regularly, updating and revising the statute and evaluating the value of the districts. 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, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the state legislature.
 
Districts ask that each and every business, each mayor, town councilor, county commissioner, and county councilor get on the phone with or meet with your Senator by Monday before the full Senate vote. 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. 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?”  To locate your Senator, visit: http://district.iga.in.gov/DistrictLookup/. For more information on the bill, contact your local solid waste management district.   

Jorell Tucker
Whitley County Solid Waste  


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