Friday, June 04, 2010

TOP STORY > >Council sorts out recycling proposal

Leader staff writer

For less than 50 cents more per household than what it’s costing the city to recycle right now, residents can just throw their items in one bin and let someone else sort it out.

Right now, residents who re-cycle must separate their recyclables into containers: one for aluminum cans, one for plastic and one for newsprint.

But under the single-stream recycling system proposed by the Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction district, formerly called the Pulaski County Solid Waste District, residents can put all those recyclables, including glass, in one container.

“The idea,” said Jim Oakley, public works director for the city, “is to make it easier for people to recycle and then more will do it.”

In his presentation to the city council Thursday night, John Roberts said the single-stream system by his company will be easier on residents, induce more recycling and cut the need for employees at the city’s recycling plant by half.

Roberts said about 45 percent of Little Rock and North Little Rock residents are already participating in the single-stream recycling program. Roberts would like Jacksonville, Sherwood and Maumelle to join, in which would lower the price.
Oakley said if the city goes to single-stream recycling, a picking station would be needed to separate all the items. “Our recycling center isn’t tall enough to house the equipment needed, so it’s better to have it done through the district which already has a company in place,” he explained.

The council did express interest in exploring the recycling program, but took no action.

City residents who want to recycle will continue to have two choices: curbside pick-up or they can take recyclables to the recycling center at 1300 Marshall Road.

In other council business:

Mike Wilson with Comcast, told the council that improvements were coming to customers. The cable provider will be adding 56 new high-definition channels, increased Internet speed, more videos on demand, and even a dating service before the end of June.

However, if customers want to watch Fox News and other popular stations, customers will need additional equipment, cable cards and the digital package, all at an added cost.

Comcast provides consumer entertainment, information and communication products and services to residential and commercial customers throughout the United States.

The council approved a plan to spend about $225,000 for its annual asphalt overlay and striping program.

Streets slated for roadwork include portions of 15 streets, including Laurel Street, North Oak Street, Trickey Lane, McArthur Drive, North Jeff Davis and Vine Street.

Overall, the city street department will use 2,700 tons of asphalt, 14,899 square yards of milling and 73,829 linear feet of thermoplastic striping.

City Engineer Jay Whisker, in his monthly report to the council, said his department issued 24 building permits and 11 business licenses during May. The engineering department also performed more than 200 inspections and wrote 263 warning letters to residents and businesses for having unkempt or unsanitary yards or structural problems on their property.

The city spent $2,084 to cut grass and remove trash from properties where the owners would not or could not do it themselves. The city will charge the property owners for the work and if necessary place liens against the property.

The council approved a change order on the police and fire training center, which will increase the cost of the $2.5 million project by $418,851. The bulk of the cost includes an additional 60,000-gallon water tank and telemetry controls to ensure the Marshall Road tank doesn’t drain. “We are doing this to maintain good-quality water in Jacksonville,” the mayor said.

Aldermen voted to change the date of the next meeting to Tuesday, June 15, from the scheduled date of June 17 because most of the council members will be in Hot Springs for a Municipal League meeting.