Charleston Recycling Committee Recommends Renewal Of Agreement With County Raleigh | Kanawha Valley
The Charleston Recycling Committee on Wednesday recommended that the city renew its agreement with the County of Raleigh Solid Waste Authority to have the facility continue to process Charleston recyclables.
The city transported its recyclables to Beckley for nearly seven years after the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority closed due to crippling costs. Charleston and other local municipalities looked to County Raleigh, where recycling services could continue for free – but the facility began charging cities during the pandemic. In September, Charleston City Council approved 19-7 to move $ 115,000 from the city’s contingency fund to pay the $ 175 per tonne facility fee.
The environment and recycling committee on Wednesday recommended renewing the city’s contract with the Raleigh plant, which ends June 30. The finance committee and full city council are now due to approve the contract at their next meetings on June 7.
Council member John Kennedy Bailey, chairman of the recycling committee, said Wednesday evening that the city would have to re-sign the deal with County Raleigh, despite the costs.
“It would be my personal decision that we support this renewal. We don’t really have a lot of other options, and it has worked so far, ”he said.
The State Code requires municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants to implement a comprehensive recycling program. Gerald Burgy, director of public works for South Charleston, told the committee meeting that after the Kanawha facility closed, he had worked diligently to find a better option – albeit with no facilities. local, there is no easy choice.
“We have no choice but to bring him to Beckley,” said Burgy. “As everyone knows … there is just no money in recycling.”
Burgy, who sits on the board of directors of the Kanawha Solid Waste Authority, said every neighboring municipality that has a recycling program ships its recyclables to County Raleigh. In 2016, the council considered building a new processing building at its Slack Street site, but talks collapsed due to the sheer scale of collaboration and funding required by several local governments and regulators across the country. State to build the facility.
But with the injection of millions of dollars in federal funding, the Charleston US Rescue Plan Expenditure Committee once again pitched the idea of bringing a full-scale facility to the city. The options are limited, said city manager Jonathan Storage. Waste Management, the city’s local private trash partner, told city officials they would have to ship recyclables to Pittsburgh if they wanted to secure a deal, Storage said.
Storage said the agreement with the Raleigh plant allows the city to opt out at any time. The contract ties the facility to a fixed cost of $ 175 per tonne and does not allow the plant to stop taking a certain material until July 2022.
“We would just update the dates [from the last contract], and there’s nothing committing us to a full year if the board and administration come up with another recyclable arrangement, ”Storage said. “This is a pay-as-you-go arrangement at $ 175 per tonne. The administration thinks we are between a rock and a hard place.
Charleston delivered nearly 658 tonnes of recyclable material – then priced at $ 261 per tonne – to Raleigh County in fiscal year 2019-20, the plant estimated. Although Charleston was not billed for that amount, the facility estimated it lost $ 171,425 in Charleston alone, the city’s public works manager Brent Webster said in September.
In the September vote to renew the Raleigh County contract, some members of city council disputed the costs involved, saying the money could be better spent. The mayor’s office cited the state code requirement that Charleston must have an operational program.
Storage said the managers at the Raleigh plant have always been great working partners for the city and the administration is happy the contract hasn’t changed from last year.
“We respect the partnership we have with this facility and are happy that they don’t adjust the conditions,” he said.
But unless local governments can come together and build a large-scale recycling facility locally, County Raleigh will remain the only viable option.
“All the communities in the valley are in the same boat,” Storage said.