Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recycling center boosts revenue

Process could change this summer


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County's recycling center has boosted profits since taking over management of the facility from the Southern Idaho Solid Waste District, county staff reported Tuesday.

County Director of Operations Char Nelson said during a budget hearing before the Blaine County commissioners that revenues for the recycling center are expected to reach $200,000 for fiscal 2012.

Nelson said revenues have climbed steadily since 2010, partly because she's been consulting vendors and holding material until market prices improve. Volume has also increased at the center, from 822 tons in the first part of fiscal 2011 to 940 tons through April 2012.

For the first seven months of fiscal year 2011, recycling center revenues stood at $90,873. This year, Nelson said, revenues stood at $104,087 at the same time—58 percent of the way through the fiscal year. Last year's total revenues reached $168,000.

"We're going to beat our projections," she said, though adding, "unless the market falls out."

However, she said, the type of recycling that the county chooses to go forward with will impact revenues. The county began considering different recycling processes last June.

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Nelson said a citizen advisory committee has been considering four options: customer sort, which is the current process; modified customer sort, in which curbside customers sort items into three bins rather than the current six; dual-stream, in which customers separate paper products from plastic or metal containers; and single-stream, in which customers do not sort any materials at curbside.

Nelson declined to state the committee's choice, deferring to comment until a public presentation is made in July.

However, she said there is an indirect correlation between revenue amounts and the amount of sorting required at the curb. She said mingled recyclables generally sell for a lesser rate, but single-stream recycling programs can boost participation.

Twin Falls utilities Director Sherry Jeff said last year that she saw participation in the recycling program jump from 20 percent participation to 80 percent when Twin Falls switched to single-stream recycling.

The commissioners did not make any decisions today, either on funding requests or their preferred type of recycling program. Budget amounts will not be set until the tentative budget approval in August.

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

Engineer retires—again

County Engineer Jim Koonce has retired for the second time, Blaine County staff said Tuesday. "I'm a little melancholy over it," said County Operations Director Char Nelson. "He has been extremely dedicated as an employee of the county. He will be greatly missed." Koonce worked for the county for decades, drafting ordinances on riparian development and overseeing debates such as the East Fork right of way, boring water lines at St. Luke's Wood River and other engineering projects countywide.




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