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What is the total cost to taxpayers of New Hanover County’s recycling program?

Ashley Withers

Q. Can you find out the total cost to taxpayers to fund the county recycling program: employees, facilities, vehicles, equipment, maintenance, debt etc.?

A. The New Hanover County recycling program is not funded with tax dollars, according to county spokesperson Charles Smith.

The county recycling program is funded instead by the environmental management department’s “self-supporting enterprise fund that includes revenues earned from the sale of recyclable commodities and solid waste tipping fees.”

Smith said expenditures for the program total $833,703. Revenues from the sale of recyclable commodities covered $438,243 and the remaining costs were covered by the enterprise fund.


Why does recycling service cost extra and is not included with trash service in New Hanover County?

Who provides recycling pickup in the county?

User-contributed question by:
R. E. Smith Jr.

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2 Responses to “ What is the total cost to taxpayers of New Hanover County’s recycling program?”

  1. On December 11, 2012 at 9:11 am Josh Fulton wrote:

    “Self-supporting” yet if it can’t meet its costs it takes money straight from a government fund? Interesting.

    I suppose by their rationale they could charge you $1000/bin for recycling fees and it still wouldn’t be a “tax”. It would all be “revenue” for a “business-like enterprise” that we would all pay for even if we weren’t forced to, right?

    Let’s look at their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report:


    Pg. 199 says that their predicted revenues (what they charge you for a service that you are force to pay for) were nearly $1.2M LESS THAN PREDICTED!

    Where does that money come from? This article makes it seem like the entire operation costs less than $1M. The CAFR makes it clear the Environmental Management Fund budget is over $12M!

    Additionally, they had budgeted nearly $.5M for debt installment payments and nearly $.2M to pay off the service on the debt service and fees in 2011 alone!

    Where is that mentioned in this article? Not only that, the same page, 199, clearly shows that over $.6M of long-term debt was issued in 2010, which the writer explicitly asks about. I bet you there’s a whole lot more debt than that.

    You can’t simply take government officials at their word! They paint the rosiest picture possible. To be an investigative journalist, you have to look through the numbers: FOR. YOUR. SELF.

  2. On December 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm Joe Suleyman wrote:

    “Debt service payments” are for capital purchases, like bulldozers and payloaders. The department finances them, like many businesses do. The $12 million budget teh commenter is referring to is for the entire Environmental Management Department, of which recycling is just one piece. Included in this budget are landfill operations, recycling collection, household hazardous waste collection, water testing at County parks, scrap tire collection, used oil collection, and a laundry list of other services. The recycling department used precisely zero dollars of taxpayer revenue.

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