Towns balk at continuing Grand County recycling scheme in 2009
November 3, 2008
In the heart of budget season, town managers met with Grand County, Colorado, commissioners Monday to talk about recycling options.
At the end of the workshop, the consensus for each manager to take to their towns ” Granby, Fraser and Winter Park ” was to evaluate how to keep recycling available at the landfill through 2009 while other avenues continue to be explored.
Grand Lake, which is in the process of crafting a mandatory trash and recycling ordinance for public review, remains in limbo.
From January to September, Town Manager Shane Hale reported, Grand Lake has paid a total $22,750 to keep recycling bins available.
Hale said for a town Grand Lake’s size, it’s a hefty price to pay out of the general fund.
Hale asked whether the county would be willing to share costs with Grand Lake in the next year to keep recycling available while it attempts to contract trash and curb-side recycling for town residents. Hale reasoned that many Grand Lake-area county residents use the site.
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Commissioner Gary Bumgarner in particular said he would rather see Grand Lake buy into the landfill recycling agreement shared by the other towns rather than the county joining Grand Lake’s effort. It’s estimated that keeping recycling bins available in Grand Lake for another year would cost around $30,000.
The towns of Fraser, Winter Park and Granby have been splitting half of about $5,000 to $6,000 a month, with the county paying the other half, keeping recycling going at the Grand County Landfill site. Hot Sulphur Springs has been contributing $100 a month.
Grand County is in the process of negotiating a contract for replacing its landfill with a transfer station, and recycling could be a component. County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran said details are still being worked out and how recycling fits in is still nebulous.
For this reason, the county is hoping eastern Grand County towns accept sharing recycling costs for another year while other pieces fall into place.
Recently, the Town of Fraser’s board members asked the question why pay at all, since recycling at the landfill is a major inconvenience for Fraser Valley residents.
It’s a question other town and county officials seem to be asking, especially in trying economic times.
It’s estimated the current system of recycling in Grand County diverts 5 percent or less material from the landfill, at a greater cost than what towns can afford. At that rate, town and county officials questioned whether the funding mechanism for recycling should be reviewed.
Further complicating the issue is that materials such as glass bottles are no longer being accepted. Some materials cost more to haul and to recycle than the material is worth.
Underbrink Curran said if towns and the county do contract through 2009, perhaps there should be an assurance in place that more materials won’t be eliminated from the list of accepted recyclables.
Commenting on projected tight government budgets this year, Underbrink Curran said about recycling, “When you are flush, you can do things that enhance the way the community feels about itself. But when you’re not more flush, you do things that better protect the community.”
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.