Hillsboro hears of issues with the recycling center being used improperly

The Hillsboro City Council met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1 where they heard a department update from Sanitation Supervisor David Lockwood. Lockwood explained that there have been a lot of issues with hazardous waste and other trash being left at the recycling center.

“We recently had trouble when someone tossed flammable materials into the recycle bin. When the material was dumped, the fire was started in the truck,” said Lockwood.

He said the operator was able to quickly put the fire out, but the situation was dangerous.

Lockwood stated that they find everything from furniture to paint to carpet and more on a regular basis. This not only creates dangerous situations but adds to recycling costs. He said he felt it would be best to start locking the recycling center at night and on the weekends in order to keep people from not using it correctly.

How often does the illegal dumping happen?” asked Councilmen Blake Beye.

“Every week,” said Lockwood.

“Have we looked at putting up a camera?” asked Councilman Brent Driggers.

“Yeah, we actually talked with 2S over there and they have a few spots and recorders we could use. It wouldn’t necessarily prevent anyone but it could help us capture someone. The difficult part is that it can be hard to see what is trash and what is recycling,” said City Administrator Matt Stiles.

Lockwood agreed and gave the example of propane tanks which are recyclable as long as they are empty but at times they have had them start fires because they were not empty. He said people have also put in boxes that have had rotten fruit in them. The box is recyclable but not the fruit.

In other business, the council:

n learned that the city did not receive the Cost Share grant from KDOT to do street replacement on Adams Street.

“Given that it’s the third time we’ve been rejected for the grant, it’s probably time to rethink our strategy on that program. This also changes how we proceed with street repairs. There aren’t many options other than the CDBG and bond financing,” said Stiles.

n received a dashboard report update from Stiles who went over the general fund and utility fund and explained that the city has about 28 days of cash on hand which is about normal for Hillsboro. Stiles explained that it has been a rough year in some areas, especially in gas and diesel, and while there is still time left to see how things will shake out, it still looks promising. He also talked about the electric rates and that the costs are projected to drop in 2023 and in future years. The city will most likely still need to do another rate adjustment in order to build a utility fund reserve, but no decisions have been made yet. They will meet with KPP to discuss it all more at the next council meeting on Nov. 9. More complete information on the dashboard report can be viewed on the YouTube meeting video.

n heard that the Planning Commission had to cancel its last two meetings due to a lack of a quorum.

“We are scheduled to meet on December 1 to hear two cases. The Planning Commission has two vacant positions, one in town and one out of town. If anyone has someone interested please contact me or Mayor Lou (Thurston),” said Stiles.

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