It will cost Columbus taxpayers 430 thousand dollars less this year to dump their trash into the Franklin County landfill.
City Council last night approved paying the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio 16.7 million dollars in landfill tipping fees. Columbus Public Service Director Jennifer Gallagher says the city paid 17.1 million last year.
The new rates take effect April 1. But the city is paying more to collect recyclables and yard waste. Council earlier this month approved a five-year, 45 million dollar contract with Rumpke, which is 40 percent higher than the previous five-year contract. Council also approved an ordinance banning licensed, certified or registered mental health professionals from providing so-called "conversion therapy" for minors in the LGBTQ community. The practice has been denounced by medical and psychological organizations as scientifically unsound. Cities including Toledo and Cincinnati have enacted similar bans. Advocacy groups sought the legislation, citing higher rates of suicide, depression and other health problems among LGBTQ youth. Karla Rothan runs Stonewall Columbus.
It's not clear how the measure will be enforced. Opponents have said the ban is unnecessary because there's no evidence the practice is being used in Columbus. Violators would face a 500 dollar fine and up to one year in jail. The measure was passed at the start of National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week. Workshops, lectures and film screenings are among the events being held throughout Ohio to draw attention to health disparities in the LGBTQ community. Julie Applegate with Equitas Health in Columbus says community members have higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, obesity and other problems. Applegate says emotional and physical safety are other important health concerns.
She says changes in public policy and society are needed to eliminate barriers to health care.
Applegate says conversion therapy is also illegal in some other states.