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Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown has pulled a $250,000 request to start a curbside recycling program from the 2014 budget she will present Tuesday to City Council.
Brown presented the recycling plan during last month’s budget hearings but the proposal won little support from City Council members.
Council President Ryan Brand said he expected a curbside recycling plan to be fleshed out next year.
“There is not a single person on the council who is opposed to the concept of curbside recycling for the community, but we have to have a fully developed plan in order for the council to get behind a program that would be run by the city,” Brand said.
“I believe we will continue to have conversations, and it is my hope that we find a solution for the community well before the budget hearings in 2015.”
Under Brown’s proposal, residents interested in curbside recycling would have paid $70 for a special trash can, but there would have been no additional monthly cost for the biweekly service. The city would have bought a truck, hired two employees and set up a location to receive the recycled materials, most likely in partnership with the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District.
Also, a worker on the city’s cardboard recycling truck route, whom the waste district had been paying, would have moved to the curbside program and been paid by the city.
Brown wanted to turn the cardboard responsibilities over to the waste management district, and that part of the plan was approved last week by Bartholomew County Council when it approved the waste district’s 2014 budget on first reading.
However, none of the mayor’s proposal for the waste district to help with the construction of a location for recycled materials was included in the 2014 waste district budget.
County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz, who serves on the solid waste district board with the mayor, said she had not formally requested the district to help with the curbside recycling proposal. However, the district was eager to take over the city’s cardboard recycling program.
“While cardboard is not as romantic as the concept of setting my plastics and my bottles and my tin cans outside of my house, we will collect five to 10 times the tonnage (of cardboard) than we will collect of plastic bottles. And when you consider the air space, the volume it saves, that factor even compounds,” Kleinhenz said.
Jim Murray, director of the waste district, said there were early discussions about the construction of a building to house the proposed city recycling program, but nothing formal.
“We didn’t really talk about specifics on how to accomplish (it),” Murray said. “We had talked about a transfer building, but we had no idea of the cost to transfer the materials. It was very preliminary.”
The city administration also had been in preliminary negotiations with a recycling company the mayor hoped would take away the recycled material at no cost to the city.
During the city budget hearings and at the council meeting two weeks ago, council members said they were concerned by several aspects of the mayor’s plan. Concerns included the lack of detail, the potential cost, the use of city workers instead of a private company and not relying on a city recycling committee to make a recommendation on how to proceed.
Brown could not be reached Friday to discuss the recycling program.
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