Curbside recycling likely will begin sometime in 2009 By David Lias
Editor Itâ�?�?s been nearly two months since Vermillion citizens, in a close election held Nov. 4, confirmed they approve of the idea of implementing a curbside recycling program within the city. It may be several months, however, before the program is up and running. In other words, residents wonâ�?�?t have to worry about journeying out in the currently bitter cold weather South Dakota is experiencing to place containers of recyclable materials out on their curbs. â�?�?When the item was referred, we couldnâ�?�?t allocate any funds toward implementation of the project, so we literally now have to go out and purchase the truck and some things like that,â�? City Manager John Prescott said. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s probably going to be several months into 2009 by the time we get all of the equipment lined up, and hire the staff we will need to operate the truck.â�? The city will also hold educational sessions so Vermillion citizens fully understand how they can take advantage of the recycling program once its operational. â�?�?We will produce some educational materials, and people will know ahead of time what they will need to know as a homeowner, such as what day recyclables will be picked up in their neighborhood, and other things like that,â�? Prescott said. This new recycling service is being made possible in Vermillion thanks to a grant/loan package from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that will help offset the costs of needed equipment. The recycling program will need to generate enough income for Vermillion to pay back the low-interest loan. Vermillion residents will be charged a monthly fee to help cover both fixed and operating costs of the program. City Manager John Prescott, in a memo to city aldermen, noted that city staff is working to develop multiple income streams to help fund the program due to the unpredictability of the recycling market and fixed costs, such as fuel. The initial monthly fee for homeowners is anticipated to be $3.30 plus applicable sales tax. â�?�?The package is a $35,000 grant and a $175,000 loan at 2.5 percent interest for seven years,â�? said Phyllis Packard, Vermillionâ�?�?s solid waste director, told the Plain Talk last summer. â�?�?It would cover the costs of curb sorter trucks, pickup, hydraulic dump trailer, the school trailer, and contingencies and other equipment needed for a total of $210,000.â�? Packard noted that the curb sorter truck will feature seven separate sections, with each holding a different recyclable material routinely collected by the city. Her research shows that Yankton, Mitchell and Brookings currently have curbside recycling, and the average charge in those communities for the curbside service is between $3 and $3.25 monthly. Opponents referred the idea to a public vote, stating that Yankton, which shares the use of the Vermilllion landfill through a joint powers agreement, isnâ�?�?t doing its fair share of recycling.