Thursday, October 26, 2023

Trustees seeking solution to recycling service

Recycling was again the topic of discussion by members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees during the Oct. 10 meeting.

During the study session prior to the regular meeting, Township Manager Tony Burdick explained that the current situation with the drop off location for recycling had become problematic as the lack of volunteer help left the site unattended. He told the trustees that during the recycling service the previous weekend, no volunteers were on hand. He said the Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Brownies and Cub Scout troops that previously took on oversight at the recycling site were no longer in existence or available. 

Burdick suggested moving the recycling operation to the front of the area near township hall on Sumpter Road. Burdick said the move was the only solution he could think of to keep unsupervised vehicles from the fuel depot at the rear of the property. “The only solution I can come up with is moving recycling forward in some shape or fashion,” Burdick said.

He said he had pursued several options for curbside recycling but the cost was prohibitive and many haulers have discontinued to offer residential recycling, particularly in rural areas.

Trustee Matt Oddy suggested fencing off the fuel depot area so that it would be inaccessible to drivers bringing in recycling. “Your access back there would be restricted, you know, behind the fence and the DPW and police could access it,” Oddy said.

Burdick was resistant to the suggestion saying it was “possible but not feasible.” 

Following a discussion of possible sites for the recycling operation, Oddy returned to his previous suggestion.

“We have a large area back there (behind township hall). Do we have enough room to section off the fuel depot used by the police and fire department and the DPW so that it not accessible to the public? If so, we could open up recycling if we make some improvements,” he said. “I ask that you look at it. There is a lot more room back there.”

Burdick said that a solution was needed immediately as recycling was scheduled for the upcoming Saturday. He said a “temporary solution is needed” and an option could be “to suspend recycling.”  Oddy said he was in favor of continuing the recycling as the township had already made a commitment to residents for Saturday. “Open it up and we have the DPW and police back there,” he said. “Keep it open until we find a permanent solution.”

Trustee Don LaPorte suggested it was time for a survey to determine what services new residents of the township might want.  He said curbside recycling was expensive and it would be a cost to residents. He suggested that the issue could become a ballot question to ensure residents were in favor of the increased cost.

Clerk Esther Hurst agreed with LaPorte regarding a survey, but Oddy reminded the trustees that responses to previous survey questions were dismal. “We need 60 percent of people to respond,” he said. “What did we get, 19 responses last time?”

Following the discussion, Burdick agreed to bring a proposal back to the board with options for the recycling program other than moving the operation to the front of the property.