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County no longer accepting glass recycling

Due to rising disposal costs, starting Aug. 1 glass will no longer be accepted at Dauphin County’s 10 drop-off sites:


• Conewago Township Municipal Building, 3279 Old Hershey Road, Elizabethtown
•  Dauphin County Recycling Center 1625 S. Cameron St., Harrisburg
•  Gratz Borough Community Center, 125 N. Center St., Gratz
• Halifax Borough (by Deppen Park), Route 225, quarter-mile outside borough
• Harrisburg City, Uptown Shopping Plaza parking lot (7th and Division streets)
• Highspire Borough, Lumber and Broad streets (behind mini-mall)
• Lykens Borough, Boxers Parking Lot
• Millersburg Borough, Front Street and Keystone Road
• Washington Township/Elizabethville Borough, Lykens Valley Plaza, parking lot
• Williamstown Borough/Williams Township, Williamstown Borough Municipal Building


“Unfortunately, recyclers are refusing to accept recycled glass because there is no demand,’’ Commissioner Mike Pries, who oversees the county’s Department of Solid Waste Management and Recycling, said in a press release. “We have been paying around $1,200 a month to dispose of glass, and that is not an expense taxpayers should shoulder.’’


Pries said if demand for glass returns, the county would again accept it, but for now bins will be used for plastics.


The county’s move comes on the heels of Harrisburg’s decision last year to stop collecting glass because of the cost. Other cities, such as Charleston, West Virginia; Greenville, South Carolina; Marietta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana have also stopped collecting recycled glass.


The decision will not impact municipalities that have their own recycling programs that collect glass.


“We are committed to recycling, but we cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars to dispose of materials for which there is no demand,’’ said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “In March, we had to restrict electronics recycling to county residents only to ensure we would not start collecting so much that we would have to start paying to get rid of items.’’


Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said the board doesn’t like having to restrict any recycling.


“We will continue to monitor the recycling markets,’’ Hartwick said. “If demand for glass returns, we will resume collection at our drop-off sites.’’


For more information about the recycling programs, call 717-982-6772 or visit www.DauphinCounty.org.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:36

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Turnpike tolls to rise 6 percent in ’17

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission approved July 19 a six percent toll increase for both E-ZPass and cash customers.


The increase is set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 8, 2017.


As a result of the measure, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase next year from $1.16 to $1.23 for E-ZPass customers and from $1.80 to $1.95 for cash customers.


The most common toll for a Class-5 vehicle — a prevalent tractor-trailer class — will increase from $9.59 to $10.17 for E-ZPass and from $13.60 to $14.45 for cash.


PTC Chairman Sean Logan said this toll increase — like other annual increases since 2009 — is necessary to pay back the borrowing required to meet the PTC’s funding obligations: rebuilding and widening the Pennsylvania Turnpike system and providing funding to the commonwealth to support public transportation.


“Last fall, the PA Turnpike observed our 75th anniversary; while that is a great accolade, it means that parts of our system have outlived their design life and are in dire need of replacement,” he said in a press release. “Revenues from this increase will fund a newly approved, 10-year spending plan which invests more than $5.77 billion in our system in the coming decade — a large part of which will support ongoing total reconstruction and widening projects.”


Commissioners also ordered a systemwide reassessment of all turnpike improvement projects in both the design and construction phases to confirm that the best decisions are being made on capital expenditures.


Logan said that the commission has been pondering such a measure for some time.
According to the press release, the PTC continues to focus on cost-cutting measures to mitigate future increases. It implemented a strategic plan with renewed emphasis on controlling operating-expense growth; it has held the line on operating costs; and it has reduced headcount by 8 percent in the last decade — and by 20 percent in the fare-collection department in the same time because of E-ZPass usage.


Logan asked executive staff to evaluate the need for a hiring freeze during the current fiscal year.


“While we will continue to mitigate toll increases through boosted efficiencies, we have no option but to increase tolls annually moving ahead,” said Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Right now, traffic and revenue predictions estimate increases of up to 6 percent per year will be necessary until 2044.”


During the last nine years, the PTC has provided $5.2 billion to PennDOT, of which $2.25 billion has supported highways while $2.95 billion has supported transit.


As a result of a transportation law enacted in 2013, the turnpike commission’s funding obligation to PennDOT will drop from $450 million a year to $50 million a year beginning in Fiscal Year 2023, according to the press release.


More than 77 percent of transactions on the 552-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike are paid via E-ZPass. The Pennsylvania Turnpike manages 1.7 million E-ZPass accounts with 2.7 million PTC-issued transponders in circulation.


Motorists can buy E-ZPass at www.paturnpike.com or by calling 1-877-PENN-PASS. The E-ZPass GoPak is offered at nearly 500 retailers, including most Pennsylvania AAA offices and at stores in these chains: Acme, Giant Eagle and GetGo, GIANT Food Stores, Karns Quality Foods, Kuhn’s Markets, Martin’s Food Markets, Walmart, Wegmans in central and eastern Pennsylvania and Sunoco A-Plus stores at turnpike service plazas.


It costs $38 to open an E-ZPass auto-replenishment account using a credit/debit card; the cost includes a $35 toll balance plus a $3 annual service fee.


 E-ZPass retailers charge a convenience fee, but there is no such fee to join online or by phone.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:20

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Borough website should get upgrades, improvements soon

The Borough of Middletown could have an improved website before the end of August, as a result of borough council on July 19 awarding a contract to a web development firm.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:18

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Londonderry Township sewer deal could speed two developments, but cost residents thousands

Londonderry Township officials are closing in on an agreement with Suez to bring public sewer to Route 230, which would allow movement on two developments that could more than double the township’s housing.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:17

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Middletown and Lower Swatara part of regional police discussion

A meeting will be held sometime in August between Dauphin County, Middletown and Lower Swatara Township regarding a possible regional police effort involving the two municipalities.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:12

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