Grand Lake recycling survives " barely
April 29, 2008
Grand Lake is keeping its recycling, at least for now.
The town has opted to pay $350 per pick up, per container, from now until a better solution comes along ” and town officials are hoping one is found soon.
The $350 per haul could easily run up a hefty tab once Memorial Day passes and the lake town’s peak season gets under way.
In a memo to board members, Town Manager Shane Hale estimated the town needs 100 pickups per year for recycling bins located near the town shop.
This would equate to around $32,750 a year, since nearly half of the pickups consist entirely of cardboard and fetch a slightly discounted price because of the material’s value.
But Karen Bloomfield, owner of Valley Recycling in Parshall, chief hauler of the recyclables, said Hale’s estimates were high.
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Even so, Hale told board members, the proposed price is “far and above more than we can absorb into the general fund, nearly five and a half times what we’ve budgeted.”
Other town priorities, such as water quality issues, cutting trees, affordable housing proposals, lakefront improvements, boardwalk replacements, dust control applications, maintaining parks and funding nonprofits, Hale said, tend to put a squeeze on town finances.
“While $6,000 a year for recycling seemed appropriate as a general fund expense, the prospect of $30,000-plus a year is a different matter altogether,” Hale wrote in his memo.
“With the cost of diesel, it was costing me to come recycle for Grand Lake,” Bloomfield said about her need to raise the rates.
In light of the fact that about half of the recycle waste is cardboard from the commercial district, board member Benton Johnson, who owns a local restaurant, asked, “Is there a way for us to charge the businesses for dumping?”
Bloomfield stopped collecting commercial recycling this year not because of the volume, but due to a lack of employee help, she said.
Johnson said as a business owner, he’d be willing to pay a higher price for commercial cardboard recycling. The town examined the idea of having a separate bin on-site solely for commercial cardboard, then hauling the material itself to Bloomfield’s sorting facility. But when told that during the peak busy times, a cardboard bin could be filled up in a day, Hale retreated.
It was left there, as the town anticipates a planning retreat next month to brainstorm a long-term solution to the trash and recycling problem, whether it be “mandatory garbage collection” or “some variation of ‘pay as you throw,'” meaning users of recycling foot the bill for the service.
Meanwhile, the county is also going down the waste management spiral, seeking proposals for its solid waste site with recycling as a component.
“They are still working through this process, and it doesn’t look as though there will be any relief for us in the interim,” Hale wrote to board members.
Old tree gone in spite of Sun City savior
In the midst of the town’s large-scale tree removal project, one woman was angered the town cut down a prized lodgepole pine tree near her property.
A lapse in communication, or mail not forwarded, was to blame.
Joan Malouff of Sun City and Grand Lake attempted to contact the town to find out if an 80-plus-year-old tree in front of her home on town property had been marked for removal.
A letter later written to the town by Malouff stated that she had “personally nurtured (the tree) (herself) for the last 30 years.”
But the tree was cut down before she could save it.
“I am appalled that the town of Grand Lake would undertake this action without my knowledge and without an opportunity for me to save this stately tree,” she wrote.
“This is an unfortunate circumstance,” responded Town Manager Shane Hale, “since this tree obviously meant a lot to you and since it’s nice to save as many trees as possible.”
But the town had sent correspondence about the tree removal project to her Grand Lake address of record, including a letter and the town newsletter. The information was also posted on the town Web site and written about in the Sky-Hi Daily News, Hale said.
“While I regret the fact that you didn’t know about the program, I do feel that the town made an honest effort to notify our citizens. If you have suggestions on other ways that the town can improve its communication efforts, I’m always happy to hear ideas on how we can do a better job,” he wrote.
To reach Tonya Bina, e-mail email@example.com or call 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.