$42,500 recycling can grant on Rutherfordton agenda

Jul. 02, 2013 @ 07:46 AM

On Wednesday, the Rutherfordton Town Council will discuss and potentially accept the contract with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for a recycling can grant totaling $42,500.

The town is planning on increasing the efficiency of recycling collection by converting from the bins currently used to roll-out cans similar to those used for garbage collection, and had applied for the grant to help fund nearly 1,700 95-gallon roll-out recycling cans.

“This amount would give us enough for the town’s households and businesses, as well as some extra bins in case of damage or theft,” said Town Manager Karen Andrews.

Each new roll-out bin costs about $50 and the DENR grant would pay up to $25 per bin, or roughly half of the estimated cost of the project.

Rutherford County will begin accepting co-mingled recycling in August.

Council members and town staff discussed at length the proposed purchase of recycling roll-out cans for co-mingled recycling during last month’s budget workshop meetings.

Due to budget constraints in the 2013-14 fiscal year, council members decided to delay the purchase of the new roll-out cans.

“We had applied for this grant during the budget workshop time, before Town Council decided to not do the cans at this time,” Andrews said. “I think that council members are all in favor of doing it, but it was just trying to find the money at that time that was difficult.”

Council members proposed starting the town’s co-mingling program using the current bins and gauging the county’s implementation of the program before purchasing any new roll-out bins.

“Other towns have implemented these bins and it’s been very successful,” said Public Works Director Keith Ward, during one of the budget workshop meetings. “We will see recycling growth in our town, and it will save us money in the long run. But I understand our situation and there are other ways to get the new cans. We can implement them slowly, even if it’s not this year. Or we can stay with the current 18-gallon bins people have and eventually get the new roll-out bins.”

According to Finance Director Rus Scherer, if the town accepts the grant, it will be able to roll over to the 2014-15 fiscal year for purchasing the new bins.

Rob Taylor with the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach for DENR has also advised town staff to accept the grant.

The grant term is July 15, 2013 through July 14, 2014 and according to Taylor, if during that period the town is unable to purchase the bins or chooses to further delay the purchase, a six-month extension of the grant may be requested.

“We don’t know what funding will be like in the future,” Andrews said. “Accepting the grant doesn’t mean we’ll start purchasing cans. It just means down the road, if we see all of a sudden the town is in a better financial position than what we think we may be, then the Town Council may say let’s go ahead and take those funds and put them toward buying these cans.”