City’s recycling costs to increase, council looking at alternative with Ft Hood
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Come Jan. 1, 2019, recycling costs for the City of Copperas Cove will be going up. That’s according to a recycling report given at Tuesday night’s city council meeting by Jaime Duncan, director of solid waste.
Duncan gave several reasons on why the city recycles, to reduce what goes into a landfill, to conserve natural resources, and pollution prevention. The city has a residenial curbside, single stream program that collects twice per month from 96-gallon containers. The city’s Solid Waste Transfer Station also accepts items for recycling from residents at no cost.
Presently, Duncan said, the city does not pay a disposal fee for its recycling to its contracted recycling provider, Wilco, in Taylor, Texas, but only pays transportation costs. Over the last three fiscal years,those costs have averaged $26-$37 per ton to the city, Duncan said. He compared the number to the disposal fee for the city’s trash collections, which runs a budgeted $40 per ton, which includes both transportation and disposal fee.
“If we can maintain our recycling below $40 a ton, we are doing good,” Duncan said.
However, that will change come Jan. 1, due to an increased cost for recycling programs across the country.
Duncan said the city has been notified by Wilco, that come January 1, they will charge a disposal fee for recycled materials, based off a market value. The initial calculation is a $28-38 per ton fee added to the transportation costs with the city ultimately having to pay $62-72 per ton, if not more, Duncan said.
Nationally, there is an increase in the cost to recycle that varies by region, he added.
However, there is an upcoming initiative in the works for the city to partner with Fort Hood for its recycling. Duncan said there is a memorandum of agreement in the works, a pilot program for the city to take its recyclables to Fort Hood.
“That agreement is currently under legal review at various levels, and I’m not able to discuss specifics at this time.”
Duncan’s recommendation was to continue with the status quo.
“The Solid Waste Department will absorb that cost until a midyear budget review can be conducted so I can better determine those financial impacts to the Solid Waste budget. It will also allow this item to be added to a future schedule for the council’s discussion to determine the direction we will go with recycling.”
Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah said that the city sets the gold standard for recycling in the area, and that the recyclable material it collects and takes to Tyler is very clean.
“I think it speaks very highly of us,” Haverlah said. “A lot will hinge on whether we can partner with Fort Hood on taking our recyclable materials there.
“Fort Hood did their background check on us. They checked our levels; they want us to bring our recyclable material to them because we do so well. Otherwise, they wouldn’t ask us.”
The council approved an amendment for the city’s Personnel Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2019-2023 and the city’s Position Listing for fiscal year 2018-19. The position listings for Firefighter I and Animal Control Officer I were designated as transitory assignments, which give a timeframe for training and certification prior to moving to level II.
The council also approved the reappointment of Municipal Court Judge F.W. Bill Price for another two years.
The golf course and parks operations will have a new ProGator sprayer for $36,800, instead of other equipment that was on the list for the city’s capital outlay play fiscal years 2018-2022 and for fiscal year 2018.
A bid for repairs and reconstruction for South 19th Street was approved by the council as well, with the council awarding a bid from A & S Underground Contractors in an amount not to exceed $763,777.
The council held an executive session during which it discussed two economic development projects, Project Glow and Project Etch. The council also discussed the search and selection of a new city manager. After the executive session, the council emerged to take no action.
Prior to the meeting, Joann Courtland and Fred Chavez were sworn in as the newest members of the Copperas Cove city council, Place 1 and Place 2, respectively.