Mayor says passage of recycling ordinance was “fiscally irresponsible”

Posted By: Veronica Ortega

On Monday the four Republican members of the City Council voted to pass a proposed recycling ordinance, but it wasn’t the version that Democratic Mayor Chris Beutler had wanted.

The bill kept in the requirement that waste haulers offer curbside recycling, but an amendment from Councilman Trent Fellers removed the landfill ban on cardboard and paper products.

"When they stripped that out of the bill they essentially gutted the bill. They’ve taken out the best parts and left in the worst parts," Mayor Chris Beutler said.

Mayor Beutler says Lincoln’s recycling rate is far lower that some other cities across the country, and without the ban this will only lead to a 1 to 3 percent increase in recycling. He says with the ban we could have more than doubled it.

City Councilman Jon Camp who voted for the amended version, said the original ordinance would cost taxpayers too much.

"This ordinance was really a heavy hand of government just coming down, and really squashing individualism. I think it’s much better to encourage responsible behavior," Camp said.

Supporters of the Mayor’s plan say the city may lose several hundred thousand dollars in state grants, but the Republican majority who voted for the watered down ordinance say it’ll boost the city’s ability to collect data on recycling. They believe it’s a step in the right direction and will help move Lincoln forward.

The Mayor says over the next few days he’s going to listen to feedback from the people and by next Tuesday he will decide either to sign or veto the ordinance. Trent Fellers responded in a statement saying he hopes the Mayor will sign and he can’t think of anything more short sided than a veto.