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Recycling district buys truck for lease to city

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Nearly 81 tons of materials diverted from landfill in 2013

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The Perry County Recycling Management District Board of Directors agreed at a regular meeting Feb. 28 to purchase a truck to be used by Tell City workers to collect recyclable materials.

To be contingent on approval by the city’s board of public works and safety, the district would buy the truck and lease it to the city for $1 a month. City trash department workers collect recyclable materials every other week, and the district could use the vehicle at other times.

The city officials approved the offer at their March 4 regular meeting.

In his advisory-board report to the district’s directors, Marlow Smethurst reminded them the issue arose when Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing and Street Commissioner Jeff Everly attended the advisory board’s January meeting.

“They informed the board that the two pickup trucks Tell City uses to haul recycling trailers … are not operating. The city does not want to spend any additional money to repair the trucks as (they) are approximately 20 years old,” Smethurst reported. The city did want to continue is recycling program, but didn’t have funds to buy new trucks, he continued, and the advisory board discussed the issue at length at its February meeting. 

Ewing told the other district directors the transmissions had gone out in both of the city trucks used to pull the recycling trailers. The street department had loaned two trucks to that purpose, but couldn’t continue as warmer weather arrives. 

“The advisory board wants to encourage continued recycling efforts and expand our recycling program,” Smethurst said in his written report to the board, and “believes it is proper to use our funds to support existing recycling programs and also to encourage new recycling efforts, such as Derby’s”

As the News reported Monday, people in Derby have petitioned the district to establish a collection site there. 

“If this proposal is implemented and works well,” Smethurst concluded, “we could possibly purchase another truck in 2014.”

The district is funded by a $32 annual fee charged for each property. It also receives revenues through the sales of recyclable materials.

Approximately $60,000 had been accumulated in the district’s equipment fund, Executive Director Ken Smith told the directors, and no immediate equipment needs existed. He compared the propose arrangement with one in which the district leases Cannelton’s trash truck for use as a refuse compactor when that city’s workers aren’t running their trash routes.

Tell City’s collections contribute about half of the recyclable materials the district handles, Smethurst reported. District board member and County Councilman Jim Adams noted that in order to be successful, the district needs the city’s efforts. In the years it has been offering curbside collections, he added, “it’s worn out two trucks.” 

“If we’ve got the money in there, I say we buy them a truck,” he urged. 

Board member and Tell City Councilman Gary Morton noted that the city’s collections have meant “a good source of income” for years for the district.

“We realize that,” Smethurst said, and “we want to continue to encourage recycling, (and) this is a way for us to do it, support Tell City in this manner.” The advisory board wants to encourage and help other communities in the county to recycle, as well, he added.

“They need it and we need them to have it,” Adams said of the vehicle. He offered the motion which the other directors – except Ewing and Morton, who abstained – approved.

Smith said if Cannelton officials ever decide to implement curbside recycling, the truck and trailers would be available the two weeks each month Tell City isn’t using them.

Smith said Tuesday he was still working out details with a dealer to purchase a three-quarter-ton Ford F250. 

In other business during the meeting, he reported revenues for recyclable commodities were ahead of the same time last year. As of February, $9,824.80 worth of materials had been sold, compared to $7,365.95 a year ago. This year’s tally was for 7.13 tons of metal, 20.99 tons of newspaper, 19.66 tons of cardboard, 14.44 tons of plastic and 18.73 tons of magazines.

As the News reported March 4, the advisory board has openings which any county resident who pays the annual fee can fill. 

Anyone interested in joining can call Smethurst at 547-3411 or send e-mail to marlows @tellcityelectric.com.

The board of directors will next meet at 6 p.m. March 28 in the county courthouse.