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File #: 19-1189    Version: 1 Name: 6/17/19 - WRRMA Membership
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
File created: 6/17/2019 In control: City Council
On agenda: 6/17/2019 Final action: 6/17/2019
Enactment date: Enactment #:
Title: Resolution to Approve the City's Constituent Membership in the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA)
Sponsors: Chip Smith

Title

Resolution to Approve the City’s Constituent Membership in the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA)

Memorandum

This resolution approves the City’s participation as a constituent member in the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRMMA) and directs the City Administrator to take the necessary actions to execute the provisions of the resolution on an ongoing basis.

 

Financial Impact

The total cost of membership in the first year is $5,000.

 

Staff

Reviewed by:  Howard S. Lazarus, City Administrator

Body

Whereas, Regional recycling authorities permit members to manage multiple materials in order to increase community diversion rates and decrease landfill amounts; to save costs through economies and efficiencies of scale that cities and counties cannot attain on their own; to share risk and investment among community partners; and to consolidate educational efforts and provide consistent messages to all residents within the authority;

 

Whereas, There are more than a dozen authorities in Michigan, such as MMWA (Mid-Michigan Waste Authority), and within Southeast Michigan, such as WWRA (Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority), SOCRRA (South Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority), and RRRASOC (Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County) that have successfully reduced cost, increased diversion rates, and improved level of services;

 

Whereas, The benefits that would accrue to Ann Arbor and its community partners by achieving an economy of scale through a regional authority would benefit Ann Arbor and its community partners rather than private or contract haulers;

 

Whereas, In 2017 Washtenaw County amended its Solid Waste Plan to operate collaboratively within the County and regionally outside of the County for a comprehensive sustainable materials management strategy;

 

Whereas, Representatives from Ann Arbor Township, the City of Ann Arbor, the City of Dexter, Pittsfield Charter Township, the City of Saline, the Township of Scio, the City of Ypsilanti, and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti met monthly over a twelve-month period to draft Articles of Incorporation;

 

Whereas, Institutions, such as University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, were also part of this process;

 

Whereas, The City of Ann Arbor participated in the Authority Formation Committee that developed Articles of Incorporation of the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA);

 

Whereas, Ann Arbor is the only municipality that participated in drafting WRRMA’s Articles of Incorporation that has not joined the authority;

 

Whereas The first-year dues for joining the authority is a relatively modest $5,000 and defines a period in which the authority would coordinate communications, improve outreach to increase the quality and quantity of the recycling streams, gather and analyze member communities’ concerns, define priorities, elect officers, and develop relevant metrics;

 

Whereas, Prospective authority representatives have expressed a strong desire to increase the quantity and quality of the recycling stream first, with a desire to move closer to zero waste over the long-term;

 

Whereas, The Environmental Commission adopted a zero waste goal in 2007;

 

Whereas, The City of Ann Arbor did not make any progress on its diversion rate, zero waste, or commercial recycling goals as specified in its  2013-2017 Solid Waste Resource Update Plan;

 

Whereas, If Ann Arbor does not join WRRMA as a constituent member, 2019, the City must either submit a petition to each member to be added to the Authority or join as a non-voting member, a status that will eventually be offered to area institutions, such as the University of Michigan;

 

Whereas, On January 24, 2019 Washtenaw County Public Works presented the Environmental Commission with background and information on WRRMA;

 

Whereas, On January 24, 2019 and again on April 25, 2019, the Environmental Commission unanimously approved a resolution to recommend that City Council approve the City become a constituent member of the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority;

 

Whereas, Each member of the authority initially receives one vote, as the authority evolves and makes multi-year commitments, capital financing or long-term risk programming can be governed by weighted votes that protect the city’s interests and offer the City commensurately greater influences;

 

Whereas, The Authority is not empowered to impose unilateral directions or change contracts that affect members without gaining approval;

 

Whereas, WRRMA intends to integrate each charter community’s current and future solid waste plans and assessments into WRRMA discussions on an ongoing basis, which means there is no benefit to waiting until the City’s Solid Waste Resource Management Plan update is completed in July, 2019;

 

Whereas, The City’s ability to determine specific contracts that meet Ann Arbor’s living wage ordinance, require unionized employees, and other existing requirements would remain within the City’s purview and would not be decisions over which the authority would have any governing power; and

 

Whereas, WRRMA intends to integrate each charter community’s current and future solid waste plans and assessments into WRRMA discussions on an ongoing basis, which means there is no benefit to waiting until the City’s Solid Waste Resource Management Plan update is completed in July, 2019;

 

RESOLVED, That the City Council directs the City Administrator to petition the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority for status as a founding member and to work as a member of the WRRMA to develop a regional approach to materials management.

 

Sponsored by:  Councilmember Smith