Officials continue to debate operation of recycling center, transfer station

    City and county officials continue to debate and discuss operation of the recycling center and solid waste transfer station serving area residents.
    The latest discussion came Monday when a possible sharing of responsibilities arose during the city council meeting. Suggested was having the city operate the recycling center and the county and/or Solid Waste Agency (SWA) Board taking over direct operation of the transfer station.
    In fact, council members had a new agreement before them Monday that would turn over the recycling operation to the city, also transferring all of the real estate and recycling equipment at the facility just off East Highway 6 in Imperial.
    No action was taken on it, which would also terminate the January 2002 agreement that put the recycling center operation under a shared responsibility of the city, county and Solid Waste Agency.
    About an hour of the council’s three-and-a-half hour meeting was spent on the issue.
    Another idea suggested was allowing Western Resources Group (WRG) to pick up the recyclables at the center here, and they would market them and retain any of the profits.
    In the end, no decisions were made, but city and county officials expect to meet in March  after further discussion at the commissioners’ Feb. 27 meeting.
    Johna Jablonski, who represents the council on the Solid Waste Agency Board, said there’s been a lot of discussion at their meetings.
    She noted one issue brought up by the city was taking over sole operation of the recycling.
    “It’s pretty much all run by the city, it’s labor intensive,” she said.
    Now, city employees provide all of the labor at the recycling center. Those costs are listed as city expenses in the financials provided to the SWA Board.
    There is also a lot of decision-making required on marketing of the recyclables, Jablonski said.
    If the recycling program was taken out of county and SWA responsibility, Jablonski said the SWA board could then concentrate more on the transfer station “and figure out what we’re going to do there.”
    Commissioner Dave Hogsett was at the meeting and said a lot is being spent “to recycle a little bit.”
    He said less than $23,000 was gained from sale of recyclables the last fiscal year, while spending $1,500 per month on labor, which does not include cost of equipment.

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