Anne Arundel County has come up with a waste recycling sharing plan that might solve Annapolis' looming solid waste problem. The county council is floating the idea of a privately financed recycling center next to the city landfill. Annapolis would get a $1 million franchise fee from the company chosen to build and operate the facility, and could levy a surcharge on tipping fees.
Details need to be ironed out, but on balance, the proposal looks like a step in the right direction.
So why is Annapolis playing hard to get? Since the plan was advanced in July, the office of Mayor Alfred Hopkins has come up with a litany of reasons why it won't work. To bolster its case, the city government has trotted out numbers detailing the economic devastation resulting from losing $2 million in tipping fees -- this despite the franchise fee and surcharges. After touring a few centers in Florida and Delaware and talking with a few experts, Annapolis officials have deemed the plan technically unworkable.
The real issue isn't trash, but control. Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, the city within its borders, have been at it for years. Annapolis, perhaps rightly, sees the trash issue as a lightning rod for a much bigger question -- its right to survive as a municipality. Running the landfill not only allows Annapolis to dispose of its own waste, but adds to its revenue base, subsidizing such endeavors as its transportation system.