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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Olmsted County Board today decided to hold off on a vote concerning a proposed revision to the county's Solid Waste Ordinance.

The change is being sought by the waste hauling companies and would allow them to assess a $20 fine on customers who place non-recyclable items in their recycling bin. County officials say the waste haulers are currently paying fines when the recycling materials they collect are found to be contaminated by diapers, lawn waste, and other non-recyclable waste. The waste haulers contend allowing them to fine customers would give them an incentive to follow recycling instructions and pass their increased costs associated with violations to the violators while not penalizing customers who follow the recycling rules.

In practice, the proposed revision to the ordinance calls for a warning and additional customer education for a first offense, which would be followed by a $20 fine for future violations. The customers could appeal any fine to County staff and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission.

The plan calls for a three-month education campaign before the ordinance revision takes effect on January 1st. Officials contend the proposed revision to the ordinance is designed to address what they termed the egregious violations by customers who routinely use their recycling bins to dispose of non-recyclable and any fine would require photographic or video evidence.

The commissioners received several written comments concerning the proposal but no one spoke for or against it during the brief public hearing. Some of the commissioners did express misgivings about the plan and it was decided to wait until the County Board's meeting on November 17th to vote on the issue to give the elected officials more time to ask questions of County staff and waste haulers.

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