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Recycling district, city face tough times

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Suggestions sought for new collection sites

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

 

TELL CITY – County Commissioner Bill Amos was named chairman of the Perry County Recycling Management District Board of Directors in that agency’s first meeting of the year Jan. 24. 

County Councilman Jim Adams will serve as second in command after the annual reorganization, which also saw Ken Smith retaining his position as district director, Jeff Hagedorn retaining his role as the board’s attorney and Jerry Hoagland keeping the accountant duties he’s been performing.

In other business, Hoagland noted that the district regularly pays some routine bills, such as utilities, taxes and insurance without seeking board approval. Saying he has received complaints from the store about not paying in a timely manner, he sought permission to begin paying Wal-Mart bills the same way. The board voted to grant that authority.

In a regular advisory-board report to the district’s leaders, member Lynn Rice said the bulk of their latest meeting featured discussion with Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing and Street Commissioner Jeff Everly about how recyclable materials are processed.

During the January meeting of the Tell City Board of Public Works and Safety, the mayor, who is also a member of the recycling district’s board of directors, said efforts to cut costs have been necessary in recent years. They included a move six or seven years ago to biweekly collections of recyclable materials, she said. 

The works board has discussed the costs, Ewing said, and while “we are pleased to offer the program” and “recognize the importance of recycling, (we’re) getting into a bind with the expenses.”

Significant concerns include the age of vehicles supporting the program, which include two 1993 pickups bought as state surplus in 1998 and a 1996 model borrowed from the street department, Ewing said. 

The city collects 195 tons of the materials per year, she added, “which is about half of what the district collects.”

“We’re very pleased we can offer curbside recycling and we’re not looking to move backward,” the mayor said, “but financially, it’s a challenge.”

She promised to keep the works board up to date. 

The advisory board said they’d look at options, and “there will be future discussion of that in the future,” Rice said at the recycling-district meeting.

In other business there, Smith said he’d learned security bonds for district officials needed to be increased from $15,000 to $30,000 due to a change in the law. 

He also reported the district’s annual billing process had begun and payments had begun arriving. Approximately 7,700 bills for the district’s annual fee paid by property owners had been mailed, and Hoagland said that number was down from more than 8,000, “so we’re losing.”

“There were a couple hundred, I think, we found this year that have never gotten a bill,” Smith said, explaining they “slipped through the cracks.”

He also told the board new solid-rubber tires were needed for a Bobcat skid-steer loader and he’d received three estimates of $3,300 to $4,000.

Ewing asked if any local suppliers could provide them. Smith said they couldn’t in the past, but he could check. The board voted to authorize Smith to buy the tires at up to $3,700.

The director also reported that the prices being received for recyclable commodities were still low, but “seemed to have stopped going down for the time being, so that’s a good sign.”

He had mentioned at previous meetings a possibility of opening more collections sites in the county, and board member and County Commissioner Tom Hauser asked about that effort. He’d recently visited the Derby General Store and found a petition seeking a site in that town.

“That’s the site, that’s who we’re working with,” Smith said. “As of today they had 115 names on the petition.”

He’s working with the Derby Association on possible sites, he said.

Hauser said a site at the intersection of Indiana 70 and Gerald Road, which is not far from Derby, is being considered.

Anyone who’d like to suggest other areas should call his office at 547-9787.

“We’re open to any place if they’ll use it,” he said.