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BLAIRSVILLE: Borough council discusses recycling change

by on June 18, 2014 10:55 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — On the recommendation of borough manager Tim Evans, council on Tuesday agreed to consider alternatives to the borough’s recycling program, if not end it altogether.

Evans told council that although recycling is important, he believes the program, as it is, is inefficient and costs the borough around $14,000 annually, mostly in manpower. He suggested the borough look at alternatives, such as a so-called “single stream” program, one in which residents place all of their recyclables in a single can for curbside pickup.

Or, he said, maybe the borough should leave it up to residents to take their recyclables to the Indiana County Solid Waste Authority’s recycling center along Route 119 in Center Township.

The borough currently doesn’t have curbside recycling, only a central collection site at the municipal building.

There residents can deposit cans, some plastics, glass and cardboard in trailer-mounted sorting bins. About once a week, the borough tows the trailers to the recycling center.

The borough receives payments from the state based on how much material it recycles at the center. Evans said the borough isn’t earning much at all from its recyclables — the latest check yielded around $200. He said the borough had been earning more, maybe around $2,000 annually, back when the BiLo grocery store was in business and was leaving its corrugated cardboard at the bins.

Evans said he thinks the borough should do away with the bins.

One reason, he said, is that people are mixing recyclables in the bins, and as a result, the recycling center is rejecting loads, causing the borough to lose money. Secondly, Evans said people are treating the collection site as a garbage dump, tossing things like mattresses.

And that is creating extra work for borough employees who routinely have to clean up the mess, he said.

“(The bins) are really becoming a drain on us,” he said.

In other matters, council opened bids for the borough’s annual paving project, but it didn’t like the prices it saw and decided to reject them all.

The borough had hoped to drive some savings by allowing the Blairsville fire department to piggyback on the call for bids — the department is planning to dig up its fire hall parking lot and rebuild it from the base up.

The apparent low bid was from El Grande Industries, of Monessen, Westmoreland County. It priced the overall project at $132,142. It was one of four companies that submitted a bid.

Evans said that looking at the bids on a per-ton basis for materials, there didn’t appear to be much in the way of savings. So the borough is going to carve out the fire hall project, and rebid its paving work separately to see if it can get a better deal.

The borough has budgeted around $25,000 for paving work. Bentley Drive, Comcast Drive and Serrell Drive are priorities.

Also last night, council accepted the resignation of Councilman Jeff Marshall from the Blairsville Community Development Authority.

In a letter to council, Marshall said he longer had the time to commit to the authority. Therefore he thought it best if he stepped aside, he wrote in his resignation letter. Marshall was absent from the meeting Tuesday.

Council received a letter from CPA and Lakeview Drive Jennifer Nadzadi expressing interest in the position.

On a related front, council appointed Ben Harvey, of South Spring Street, and Brady Hogue, of Miller Drive, to the planning commission. Harvey had served in a similar capacity when he lived in Arkansas, where he worked for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Hogue is a retired teacher.

Council also appointed South Spring Street resident Wendy Wasko to the civil service commission.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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