The residents of 323 Bel Air households will be getting the county'sattention when they start putting blue bags filled with glass, plastic, cans, newspapers and yard waste at their curbs later this month.
Bel Air administrators have selected the homes in the Major's Choice, Howard Park, Bradford Village and Homestead neighborhoods for a pilot program to see how the town's proposed recycling program will work.
Because the Bel Air program is nearly identical to the one the county plans to introduce to about 52,000 households next year, the outcome of the town's four-month test could set the standard for Harford.
"(The pilot program) is to tell us what the citizens like, what they don't like, and where we can make improvements," Bel Air ManagerWilliam N. McFaul said. "It will be very interesting to see what's going to happen."
Meanwhile, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace administrators are forming recycling plans that they say will be largely based on the county program. The Aberdeen and Havre de Grace programs are expected to start next year.
In the county and three municipalities, residents would voluntarily put recyclables in blue plastic bags for curbside collections. Trash and recyclables would be collected on separate days.
In Bel Air, town officials are meeting with neighborhood associations and sending pamphlets explaining the recycling program to get residents to participate in the pilot program, McFaul said.
The Bel Air program will be based on a trash collection system that is operated by the town, not like the private, contracted haulersused in other parts of the county.
Once the recyclables are collected, the loads will be taken to the Susquehannock Environmental Center, which will process and sell the materials for the town.
Even though Bel Air is preparing the pilot program, a date for the town's other 2,500 households to begin recycling has not been set, McFaul said.
The town may delay the recycling program because of the weak economy, McFaul said.
"We may not be able to afford it," he said, noting that the town has more than two years to meet a state mandate tostart recycling. "It looks like we're going to have to absorb some (state spending) cuts."
McFaul said the town already recycles newspapers, yard waste, used motor oil and anti-freeze.
The town is waiting to see how the pilot program works to determine how much recycling will cost taxpayers, McFaul said. Trash collection fees are included in the town's property taxes.
Carl Party, deputy superintendentof Bel Air's public works department, said the town may have to pay overtime to workers operating the pilot program.
The town has nineworkers to handle trash and recycling collections.
Aberdeen and Havre de Grace expect to set the cost of their recycling plans after the county establishes its program. The programs will affect 4,500 households in Aberdeen and 3,500 households in Havre de Grace.
"We'rebeing somewhat reactive," Havre de Grace Councilman Joseph Kochenderfer said. "The reason for that is that we have to work with (the county's) incinerator and landfill."
Aberdeen and Havre de Grace are considering plans that would include a facility like the Susquehannockcenter in Bel Air to serve as a collection site for recyclable materials.