Thursday, August 24, 2023

Trustees seeking solutions to township recycling

There was a lot of trash talk at the Aug.8 meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees.

The discussion followed a proposal of Township Manager Anthony Burdick to designate $35,000 of expected American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds to a possible recycling outlet in the township. Trustee Don LaPorte was not in favor of the proposal and suggested that it was time to ask residents if they wanted to participate in a curbside recycling program.

“We have people moving into the township,” he said, “so it may be time to ask again.”

Burdick said the cost of curbside recycling was about $12 to $13 per household based on research he had done.

“Did we call public hearing in 2018 on it or have a community meeting,” LaPorte asked. “I think it is time to test the waters. With more people moving to the community, residents might be ready for recycling now,” he said. LaPorte suggested a survey to determine what the public wanted to do.

Burdick said his suggestion was based on current conditions of the recycling efforts in the township. 

He said the community was running out of options to keep recycling where it is due to a lack of personnel. He added that it would take time to prepare and distribute a survey as LaPorte suggested. Burdick stressed that his proposal was an effort to set aside the funds and did not authorize any expenditure. 

“It just like the cemetery. Not one penny gets spent until approved by the board,” he said. Burdick suggested the funding might be used in building a corral for a recycling effort with proper signage advising residents that illegal dumping carried a $500 fine for the first offense. He suggested that a $1,800 video surveillance system could be installed to ensure no illegal dumping took place.

LaPorte said he would like to see the board have more options than “moving the 200 yards up the road.”

Trustee Matt Oddy suggested the option of allowing township residents to dump recycling at the landfill or a combined recycling effort with other communities to lower the cost of the service, and agreed with LaPorte that a survey of residents would be helpful.

One township resident told the board that she moved to the township in 2021 and had never before lived anywhere that didn't pick up recycling. “Residents don't deserve a choice,” she said. We are in a time of environmental crisis and in 30 or 40 years the oceans may not be there. Trash is taking over. This is not the 1800s,” she said and urged the board to move forward with a recycling plan.

Township Supervisor Tim Bowman and LaPorte cast the two no votes on the proposed transfer of funds. Trustee Peggy Morgan did not attend the meeting.