Curbside coming

Ashley Smith · Wednesday, March 29, 2017
In a work session preceding the West Liberty City Council meeting March 21, City Manager Lawrence McNaul announced that West Liberty would soon be offering curbside recycling to its residents.

A leading reason, the city is the recipient of an $800,000 Solid Waste Alternatives Grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“The goal of the grant is to start an MRF - municipal recycling facility,” said McNaul. “The Iowa DNR would like us to consider making it available to other cities and other haulers that do recycling for smaller communities in the area.”

According to McNaul, the grant is comprised of three different percentages.

“Some of it is free money, in that we don’t have to pay it back,” he said. “Some of it is a loan at no interest, and the rest is a loan at a low interest rate – we locked in at 3 percent or below,” he said.

West Liberty applied for the grant in the summer of 2016 and had been waiting for information before going any further with recycling.

Currently community members take their recycling out to a recycling center on N. Walnut St. on the north side of town, where goods are placed in the appropriate bins.

Curbside recycling, on the other hand, should bring recycling to the home. More details are coming, but it amount to the same responsibility as weekly garbage pick-up.

“In November 2016, we received confirmation that we had made it into the final round, but they wanted us to research some alternate locations for the recycling center,” said McNaul.

The Department of Natural Resources encouraged the city to investigate repurposing vacant buildings for the recycling center. Only two viable properties were available in West Liberty, said McNaul.

“The owners of one property didn’t want to, though, and the other needed a lot of work,” he said. “Basically, it came down to, ‘Where do we already own land?’”

The municipal recycling facility will be built on the site of the current recycling center on Walnut Street. McNaul estimates that it could be operational within one year.

“The biggest part is that we have to purchase a truck,” he said. “It takes nine months to order the truck and have it delivered. To get the building built is probably six to nine months.”

The new truck will be automated. Currently, three people are needed to operate solid waste trucks.

However, should the city get an automated truck it will only take one person, so it can reallocate where the labor is being used

The city has already been conducting sample testing, using recycling bins with some volunteer residents.

“Our solid waste crews collecting those bins said that their garbage has been reduced significantly, since most of what they were previously throwing away is recyclable,” said McNaul.

There may be a small convenience fee that would accompany the recycling service to help offset its cost, said McNaul. But a reduction in garbage means that residents who are using a large trash container might be able to downsize to a smaller container, saving money.

“We want to make the recycling service a convenience – you no longer have to store the stuff in your house, then take it to the recycling yard and dump it,” he said.

Adding a recycling program reduces the tipping fees that the city pays to dispose of solid waste. “We’re sending less garbage to the landfill, so we aren’t being charged as much, and the likelihood of raising utility rates is minimized,” said McNaul.

Progress on the curbside recycling program is moving along quickly, according to McNaul.

“It’s kind of all happening – we’ve already got it designed out – that’s ready to go,” he said. “We just need to finish up a few things and put that out to bid.”

Other items of business at the City Council meeting included a mayoral proclamation to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month in April 2017, and approval of a $1,778,068.83 bid by All American Concrete, Inc. for the Maxson Avenue Improvement project.

The council set a public hearing on April 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm for a Budget Amendment for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2017.

The council also voted to join the Iowa Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (IOWARN), a network of public and private utilities to provide assistance to members following major emergencies or disasters.

Council members voted to approve conducting a cost analysis regarding the management of the West Liberty Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is under contract with CH2M for two more years.

Depending on the results of the analysis, the city may create a Request for Proposal with other contractors following the conclusion of its contract with CH2M.

A Class B Beer Permit was approved for Farley Speedway Promotions, dba West Liberty Raceway.
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