Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bellevue rejects recycling grant offer

Councilman wants to explore curbside recycling

Express Staff Writer

A Blaine County offer to include Bellevue in a grant application to develop a recycling program was turned down by the Bellevue City Council on Thursday.

The grant, which could have brought $17,000 from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, would have been used to purchase a trailer and several recycling bins for aluminum, paper, cardboard and plastics.

The Bellevue Public Works Department would have been required to empty the bins, at the Ohio Gulch recycling center north of Hailey.

The council rejected the plan because it would have cost the city at least two hours in personnel time to dump the bins each week. The council also expressed concern about the cost of maintaining the trailer and keeping the area around it clean between dumps.

Bellevue City Councilman Brett Gelskey, who manages the Ohio Gulch recycling center, spoke vehemently against the trailer option at the meeting, saying the bins would be filled with trash as well as recyclable items, causing problems at Ohio Gulch.

"You get tired of taking deer carcasses and other garbage out of the bins," he said.

Gelskey said the city should instead explore curbside recycling, or consider using some Clear Creek Disposal trailers that he said are sitting unused in Bellevue.

Clear Creek Disposal provides curbside recycling in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley already. The company is paid by the municipalities for each residential service through mandatory user fees.

Blaine County recently took over management of the Ohio Gulch recycling center from the South Central Solid Waste District and is now attempting to keep the facility financially viable.

The grant application, which would have been co-written with Bellevue, was to secure money for recycling in areas that did not have recycling programs.

Last fiscal year, the recycling center at Ohio Gulch lost $37,000 and this year was expected to lose $60,000 until the county agreed to raise tipping fees, which are costs assessed to garbage trucks for dumping garbage at the transfer station.

The trash is taken about an hour drive to a landfill at Milner Butte.

Recyclable materials at Ohio Gulch are sold on the open market to brokers.

Tony Evans:

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