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Council approves pilot trash, recycling plan

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The Fredericksburg City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to run a pilot program for curbside trash and recycling collection in two neighborhoods.

The plan is to operate the pilot in the Darbytown and College Heights sections of the city starting on April 1. The pilot would run for at least six months before staff and council would get feedback and decide whether to continue the program and expand it citywide.

City Manager Bev Cameron said the goal is to improve efficiency of the collection efforts and to approach it with “baby steps.”

All people participating in the pilot will receive two wheeled bins—one for trash and one for recycling. Residents will be asked to bring both of them to the curb one day a week.

City residents who purchase trash service currently have it picked up twice a week and city employees currently go into backyards to collect it.

The city will invest $68,000 to carry out the pilot. That will cover the cost of the trash containers, the recycling containers and retrofitting for three trucks.

Collection rates won’t change during the pilot.

Public Works Director Doug Fawcett estimates the pilot will serve 330 households in College Heights and 135 in Darbytown. His budget allows for 23 new customers, for a total of 488 households to be served in the pilot.

For the purposes of the pilot, College Heights is considered the area bounded by College Avenue, U.S. 1, the rear of properties on the south side of Rappahannock Avenue and Hanover Street.

For the purposes of the pilot, Darbytown is bounded by the Rappahannock River, Lafayette Boulevard, the back property lines of properties on the west side of Prince Edward Street and then a line to the south end of Caroline Street, but excluding the Hazel Hill property.

Fawcett met with representatives of both neighborhoods before taking the final proposal to the City Council on Tuesday for its approval. He said the majority of residents at those meetings supported participation in the pilot.

The plan is to continue the pilot through September, but Fawcett said in a memo to Cameron that he plans to get input from staff and the neighborhoods as the six months is coming to an end to see if the pilot should continue to better assess the pros and cons of the program.

Councilwoman Bea Paolucci said she and Darbytown residents have some concerns about the plan, but supported participation in the pilot.

“The general feeling of the residents was, if they weren’t part of the pilot, they wouldn’t have any input,” Paolucci said.

Councilman Fred Howe commended Fawcett for his handling of the neighborhood meetings, noting that he had heard no negative comments from anyone in College Heights.

Councilman Brad Ellis asked what it would cost to buy containers for all city customers if the program expanded. Fawcett said it would cost another $400,000 for current customers, which is about 75 percent of all single-family homes.

If the program were mandatory, that would add about $140,000 to the cost, he said, offering a rough estimate.

On Tuesday, the council also voted unanimously to authorize Cameron to negotiate an agreement with the Timmons Group and W.C. Spratt Inc. to design and build one water and three sewer upgrades in four sections of the city.

The College Heights area would get the first phase of a multiphase upgrade to the public water supply for both residential and fire flow.

The proposed wastewater system improvements include:

Normandy Village: Replace the sanitary sewer mains and manholes on Fall Hill Avenue near Hanson Avenue, and sewer lines and manholes on Hanson Avenue and Village Lane.

William Street: Replace or rehabilitate sanitary sewer lines and manholes between Washington Avenue and Caroline Street.

Charles Street: Replace or rehabilitate sanitary sewer lines from just south of the railroad underpass near Lafayette Boulevard to Dixon Street.

The total package is estimated at between $4 million and $5 million and would be financed as part of a $16.5 million bond. That bond would also cover construction of a parking lot in Celebrate Virginia South that would serve a stadium being built to serve as home of the minor league Hagerstown. The maximum price of the parking lot is $8 million.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972