Columbus cans recycling, supports homebuyer education

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Rumpke of Ohio will continue to offer curbside recycling to Columbus residents for a fee, but the city will no longer be picking up part of the cost.

As proposed by Mayor Michael B. Coleman, the city will no longer directly subsidize families who subscribe to curbside household recycling, saving $389,311, the equivalent of the 2008 funding for 11 police recruits in the class scheduled for July.

Rumpke will increase the monthly household fee from $5 to $8.25, effective June 1 for existing clients and immediately for new subscribers, to off-set its hauling costs.

Rumpke will continue offering free curbside collection of yard waste, which is also recycled, under the terms of legislation passed unanimously by City Council on Feb. 25.  The ordinance modified the city’s five-year contract with Rumpke, authorizing $3,800,650 to fund the continuation of yard waste collection.

Residents will also have the option of depositing recyclables at drop-off locations throughout the city.

“We appreciate Rumpke’s commitment to Columbus’ recycling market and that they will keep serving their subscribers with the option of curbside service,” Mayor Coleman said. “Despite tough economic times, we are increasing recycling at homes, businesses and construction sites, as well as through drop boxes.  Everyone needs to do more to Get Green and to quit throwing away recyclable materials and yard waste.”

The company’s vice president is hoping that participation numbers, already low in comparison to suburbs, don’t drop further.

“Rumpke believes in the importance of offering the curbside recycling program in Columbus, but we also understand fluctuations occur within the economy,” said Andrew Rumpke, the company’s vice president. “We hope our customers will continue to show their commitment to a cleaner environment by staying with the program.”

The amount of trash being recycled by Columbus families is growing.  In January, three months after expanding the number of drop-off locations from 69 to 190, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) announced that recycling was up 11.5 percent in 2007 over 2006.  Rumpke reported a 15 percent increase during the same period in the amount of bottles, cans, paper and cardboard recycled by its curbside customers.

Coleman’s staff is also working on a comprehensive review of recycling options, funded in partnership with SWACO, to study into the most economically and environmentally friendly recycling options for Columbus’ future.

Columbus will also continue its efforts to educate potential home-buyers on homeownership and financial responsibility, after agreeing to invest $100,000 to educate more than 1,200 families through a partnership with Homes on the Hill, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and the Columbus Housing Partnership. 

“Homeownership is a part of the American dream, and a key cornerstone to building stronger neighborhoods.  We must do all that we can to educate buyers on the responsibilities of financing and owning a home.  Programs such as these will help buyers avoid the pitfalls of foreclosure and build long term financial wealth for the family,” said Mayor Coleman.

“Foreclosures are tearing apart families and neighborhoods, leaving behind abandoned houses and broken dreams,” said Charleta B. Tavares, Chair of the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee.  “While efforts on the state level to reverse the foreclosure crisis stall, it is important that we on the local level continue our push to educate and prepare residents for the responsibility of home ownership.”

MORPC’s  Homebuyer Education Program provides homebuyer counseling, marketing and outreach regarding homeownership opportunities for home-buyers in the City of Columbus.  Low-income families will be educated on establishing good credit and qualifying for a mortgage, will receive down-payment assistance from local agencies, including MORPC, and will receive mortgage loans from local lenders to buy a first home.

MORPC will also offer six counseling sessions of six weeks each, and individual credit and budget counseling. Four housing fairs will also be held that will promote access to MORPC’s programs. This program will serve about 150 people.

“We are pleased to receive funds from the City of Columbus in support of our pre purchase homeownership education efforts.  It has been our experience that the best foreclosure prevention activities are those that take place prior to the buyer purchasing the home.  Avoiding mistakes in advance of entering into a contract and having a better understanding of terms and obligations is critical to homeownership success.  We continue to see many first time homebuyers, many Spanish speaking households, who benefit from our classes,” said Stephen Torsell, Executive Director of Homes on the Hill, CDC.

Homes on the Hill will focus their effort to the area’s growing Hispanic community. The program will explain issues of home purchase, including loan application, finding a realtor, protecting the home investment, home maintenance and inspection and loan closing procedures.  This program will also offer financial and credit counseling translated into Spanish to clients and access to down payment assistance programs to help low and moderate income families purchase homes. The program will assist about 200 people.

Columbus Housing Partnership will offer homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, post-purchase counseling, mortgage and delinquency counseling, default counseling, home equity conversion counseling, outreach initiatives, down payment assistance programs and resident development programming to low and moderate income residents throughout the City of Columbus. This program will assist about 900 people.

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