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Roofing shingles collection begins in county

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Recycling district eyes online, telephone fee payments

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The Perry County Recycling Management District has launched a roofing-shingles collection program its leaders have been discussing since September.

Executive Director Ken Smith said then the district would sell the recovered building material to Betz Brothers of Jasper, who would grind them up and sell the asphalt back to companies like J.H. Rudolph for use in roads. Preparations since then have included preparing space at the district’s site on Herzeele Street in Cannelton and development of a pricing schedule and a contract with the company.

Prices were advertised in the Aug. 4 edition of the News, and include a minimum charge of $25. That’s also the price for a half-ton pickup load, and charges rise to $35 for a three-quarter-ton truck or single-axle trailer, $45 for a one-ton pickup or flat-bed truck, $50 for a tandem-axle dump trailer $100 for a small single-axle dump truck, heavy-duty tandem-axle trailer or tandem-axle dump trailer.

Post cards were to be sent to local contractors informing them of the new service, Smith said.

“If the shingles still contain some nails, will that be a problem?” board member and Tell City Councilman Gary Morton asked at a July 24 meeting.

“Nails are fine,” Smith told him. “The only thing we don’t want in shingles is trash (such as) wrappers.”

The broker grinds the roofing material, then it goes across a magnet that removes the nails, he explained. “Then the asphalt goes into a hopper and it’s sold to an asphalt company.”

Payment options

In giving a report from the district’s advisory board, Lynn Rice told the board plans were in the works to allow county residents to pay annual fees online or by telephone with credit and debit cards.

Many agencies use systems that handle the payments and charge payers a fee for the convenience they offer, she explained.

“The district doesn’t pay any of those credit-card or debit-card fees,” she told the board. People using the phone or online system would be notified of the fee, “and then you could decide whether or not you wanted to do it.”

Smith said the district will use a system the county has been using. It’s at http://paygov.us, and clicking a “make a payment” button there takes users to a page where state, jurisdiction and transaction drop-down menus lead them to a “recycling district” option. Smith said Tuesday people shouldn’t use the system yet because the company doesn’t have the district’s account numbers. The service will be available by Jan. 1, he added.

He said those who pay by credit card are charged a minimum $1.50 convenience fee for payments up to $50 made by credit card in the office or, when available, online. For higher amounts, such as the $52 required when a late fee is added, the fee is 3 percent.

The fee for paying by telephone will be the same for those who call during normal office hours. If someone calls after hours, they’ll be told they can call an 800 number, and making payments through it will incur a $4.95 fee for payments up to $100. A 4.95-percent fee will be added to any higher amounts.

Stores absorb such fees, Smith said during the board meeting.

“They can put that fee on their products … and they collect it from everybody,” he explained. “If you pay cash, you’re paying the same fee as the guy that pays with a credit card.”

If district officials were to raise the annual $32 fee for everyone to $35 to cover the cost, “I imagine people would go through the roof,” Smith noted.

Board member and Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing said such an increase by a governmental agency would not be allowable.

Smith said people who don’t want to pay a convenience fee can simply pay by check.

Smith also reported, as he has in previous years, that trailers and smaller recyclable-materials containers placed out for the 4-H fair and were well-received and would be put out for Schweizer Fest.

“Bad news, we did not receive the USDA grant again this year,” he continued in giving his director’s report to the board. He received a phone call earlier in the day and set up an appointment to learn details “as to why we didn’t get it, how much we missed it by,” he explained. “Last year we missed it by a point … this year the criteria changed.”

A budget for next year had been prepared and the advisory board and budget committee were to finalize it at their next meeting for presentation to the board of directors’ August meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the county courthouse.

Shipping plastic

Prices for cardboard the district collects and sells have remained steady, Smith also said, “and we’re shipping a load of No. 1 plastic this week, and the pricing is about $40 a ton better than what we shipped in December.”

In response to a question from board member and County Councilman Jim Adams, Smith explained No. 1 plastic is used for water and soda bottles. Milk bottles and similar products are made with No. 2 plastic, “and those are the only two we take,” he said. Some companies accept other grades, “but we don’t have the facilities to store it in order to get enough of it to do anything.”

In addition to milk jugs, “laundry-detergent bottles, stuff like that, what they call colored plastic, the heavy bottles is what they call No. 2.”

A triangular symbol on the bottoms of containers have the numbers, Ewing noted, and residents shouldn’t place those with numbers other than 1 or 2 out for recycling.

Smith added that oil bottles are No. 2 plastic, “but we can’t take it because you can’t clean it.”

Bottle caps are composed of No. 5 plastic, which the district doesn’t normally collect in other forms. Bottle caps are collected, however, and given to schools for conversion into benches, the director said.

“Do you get a lot of unacceptable plastic?” board member and County Commissioner Tom Hauser asked.

“We get quite a bit, and we just have to trash it,” Smith answered. “There’s no market for it.” The sorting process is very labor-intensive, he added. In city curbside collections and the site at Derby, “there’s very little (No.) 3 through 7 in it, but there’s always some.”

Ewing said a lot of education has been done in Tell City, as recently as this summer.