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Recycling reaches another record in county

May 5, 2011

Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority coordinator Donna Cooper.

BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority is not sure how it will be funded in the future, but it is clear residents are taking advantage of the services offered.

The authority, which maintains and operates more than 20 recycling collection sites in the county, reportedly turned in nearly 626 tons of recyclable materials last year.

The figure marks a new high for the authority, which collected 65.7 tons of recyclables in 1996, its first year in existence.

Tonnage has increased steadily since that year. 2010 totals were up more than 20 tons since 2009. The 2010 statistics do not yet include cardboard recycling, which authority coordinator Donna Cooper said are “usually pretty significant.”

The authority will report those tonnage totals to the state in June, and those figures will determine the amount of funding the authority receives.

In other business:
• Cooper reported a new electronic recycling program may be coming to the county. She has been in contact with Creative Recycling, of Florida, and a potential deal is in the works.

The deal would allow residents to dispose of electronics — such as microwaves, radios and computers — free of charge. There would be a $7 charge for televisions, which the authority would pass on to the person who is disposing the television.

The authority desires to ensure the cost-free status for several years before a deal is reached.

“There would be no point in us offering a deal and becoming involved in electronics if the program will not be economically efficient the next year,” Cooper said.

However, Cooper said the Creative Recycling representative said the deal would “get even better” in future years, and the authority may be able to receive rebates that could generate revenue for the authority.

• Cooper reported that she met with the Jefferson County Commissioners regarding the authority’s financial situation and the authority’s construction of a new waste management plan.

The authority needed to spend more than $20,000 from reserve accounts in order to balance the budget this year. The budget called for total expenditures of less than $130,000.

Those expenditures could increase, because the state is requiring the authority to draft a new waste management plan, which must be constructed every 10 years.

“Basically, they asked us to keep them advised, and check back with them at the end of the year,” Cooper said. “They encouraged us to move forward with the plan, and they didn’t see a problem with doing as much of the plan as possible in house.”

Authority Treasurer James Sleigh and Chairman David Gordon surmised the meeting with the commissioners.

“They understand what we’re facing, but they are not in a position to help at this point,” Sleigh said. “And we’re not in a position to ask, because we don’t absolutely need it (financial assistance) yet.”

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