County seeks recycling options

The Marion County Board of Commissioners is looking for a recycling strategy for the entire county that is ?easy,? ?economical? and ?convenient.?

Toward that end, Commis?sioner Randy Dallke volunteered during the board?s Monday meeting to accompany Rollin Schmidt, solid-waste director, to meet with officials from Stutz?man Refuse Disposal Inc. to explore the feasibility of adapting their recycling program for country-wide use.

As a Peabody resident, Dallke said he has had positive experience with Stutzman?s curbside recycling program over the past seven or eight years.

Also present at Monday?s meeting were recycling proponents Eileen Sieger, who lives in rural Marion, and Margaret Wilson, who lives in Marion. Both also have had good experiences using Stutzman for recycling services at their respective residence.

Schmidt had come to the meeting with four tentative options for a county-wide recycling program, including a drop-off option from Stutzman.

But none of the options approached the door-to-door curbside approach Stutzman offers residents in Peabody and in and around Marion.

Dallke said he would like to hear what the financial and logistic possibilities would be of having a door-to-door option for the entire county?before the commissioners approach cities within the county with potential proposals.

Dallke, Sieger and Wilson agreed that, in their experience, Stutzman?s services exemplify the positive attributes a county-wide program would need to encourage broad participation.

But Schmidt told the commissioners he did not get a door-to-door option from Stutzman because company officials are sensitive about not ?stepping on the toes? of municipalities that already offer trash or recycling services.

Dallke said he was not presuming that Stutzman would be the program of choice, but simply whether such a program could be feasible and affordable for cities to at least consider.

Wilson and Sieger strongly encouraged the commissioners to explore a country-wide program because ?it?s the right thing to do? in today?s world. But they also encouraged the commissioners to emphasize the economic incentives for residents to participate in such a program.

All three commissioners agreed that economic incentives are a key part of what is driving their interest in a country-wide program.

Increased recycling would decrease county expenses for transporting solid waste to the Topeka landfill?or at least delay the need for significant rate increases that would have to be borne by taxpayers.

Commissioner Dan Holub suggested the county might even generate some revenue by developing procedures to strain out recyclables such as cardboard at the county transfer station, bale it and sell it directly to companies that reprocess such materials.

Schmidt and Dallke will try to meet with Stutzman officials before the next commission meeting.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

  • welcomed Gayla Ratzlaff, Hillsboro, on her first day on the job as coordinator for the Depart??ment for Elderly.

  • reviewed newspaper ads that have been placed by the county expressing appreciation for the many volunteers who assist with various programs, boards and services.

    ?There is a lot of volunteerism in our county,? Dallke noted.

  • heard that the state fire marshall?s office had given the county jail passing marks in correcting past deficiencies. With the passing grade, commissioners authorized the payment of $200 that had been withheld from Hett Construction until the work would pass inspection.

  • heard County Clerk Carol Maggard report on an introductory conversation she had had with Mike King of Hutton Construction about ideas for a new county corrections center. King showed her a preliminary design for a 24,000-square-foot jail his company had designed for Kearney County. The facility had around two dozen beds and was projected to cost around $6 million.

    Maggard reminded commissioners that if they still hope to have a proposal for a new jail on the November ballot, they have ?lots to do? between now and then.

  • heard from Teresa Huffman, economic development director, about her activities during the past month. Among other things, she reported new micro loans are being considered for two new restaurants in the county, a new computer company and an expansion by Wee Little Acres near Marion.

  • approved an immediate raise of 50 cents an hour, retroactive to January, for the secretary in the office of the county attorney because of her expanded workload. Long-term compensation arrangements will be reviewed.

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