The Glenwood City Council has voted to suspend the collection of its $1.25 recycling fee from city residents after closing its recycling center Oct. 1.
The city voted in July to terminate its contract with Dihne Recycling and closed the Tyson Street recycling drop off location Oct. 1. The recycling center had been plagued for years by complaints about its unsightly appearance and costs associated with the site.
Last Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to immediately suspend collecting the $1.25 recycling fee tacked on to resident water bills that had been used to fund the drop off site. The city collects about $33,000 annual from the fee. All of that money went directly to Dihne Recycling, said city attorney Matt Woods.
Jim Webel, the city’s Code Enforcement Officer, in a September interview, said the city planned to continue to collect the $1.25 and was considering offering residents a yearly or twice yearly recycling clean-up day.
The city’s ordinance, which is based on Iowa statute, allows for municipalities to collect a recycling fee that can be collected from resident utility bills to be used for a “city enterprise.” Woods said solid waste collection and recycling is one of the approved enterprises.
The recycling fee was first instituted in 1998 at a cost of 60 cents per month on each resident’s utility bill. In 2002 that fee was raised to its current $1.25 amount. Residents will no longer see the $1.25 on their October utility bills.
Woods drafted the resolution to suspend collection of the fee. He said the city could alter its ordinance to reflect this change in recycling services from a 24-hour, seven days a week dropoff center to its proposed bi-annual cleanups but not until the city determines the exact cost of that service.
“The intent of this (ordinance) was not for the city to make money on something like this. The intent is to pay for the costs that are actually incurred in having a recycling program,” Woods said.
Woods recommended suspending the fee to allow the city time to research its options concerning recycling moving forward. Only after determining the cost of an alternative recycling program, such as the proposed bi-annual cleanups, he said, could the city reinstate those fees by drafting a new ordinance.
City financial director Brian Kissel said the plan for the recycling fees changed as the city debated just exactly how it would proceed with its recycling program.
“The next step is to figure out how much a spring and fall cleanup is actually going to cost the city,” Kissel said. Kissel added he will be sitting down with a local trash hauler and the public works staff to determine the details of the proposed cleanup.
Kissel said the details of the spring and fall cleanups are still in the planning phase but he’d like to see the city accept “anything we don’t want people dumping in ditches.”