Friday, February 14, 2014

TOP STORY >> Ward considers extra recycling

Leader staff writer

Ward resident Marc Brune, co-owner of Veterans Recycling, spoke to the city council this week about a partnership for a drop-off location for items not picked up with household trash, such as furniture, TVs, tires and other items.

Brune suggested the city allow Veterans Recycling to set up a collection site, such as the old Co-Op building, or on an acre of city-owned land with a low-cost and long-term lease.

Veterans Recycling would provide materials for a building, containers and storage. Brune said the partnership with the city would create jobs.

The company would be responsible for the daily operations and the transportation of items. People would be able to get rid of items in their yard that sanitation services refuse to take that are code-enforcement violations.

Brune said his business accepts tires, TVs, building supplies and bags of trash from people. He said most of the items Veterans Recycling hauls off are considered household trash. They do not take hazardous or chemical waste. He said Veterans Recycling would reap the financial benefits of the collection site. Brune said if the drop-off location became successful it could offer Ward residents curbside recycling.

Brune said there wouldn’t be a monthly charge or a hike on resident’s water bills.

“We provide our services free of charge or for as little as possible because they are already paying for disposal of those, and we don’t feel it is ethical to charge people again for something they are already paying for. We are able to make money on the backend with the sale of some of these recyclable items,” Brune said.

Brune said many of their customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the C and S Sanitation service for not picking up items. He said some residents are unable to take sofas, carpets and other items to Two Pine landfill in Jacksonville. The landfill charges $35 per ton for disposal. Brune said his company saves residents gas money, so they don’t have to drive to the landfill to drop off a sofa. Veterans Recycling can drop-off several couches in one load.

He said Ward residents are unable to use the county’s dump stations since they live in a city. Brune said residents do not have a place to put the items until the city holds once-a-year cleanup. He said in the past eight months his company provided 150 residences and businesses with hauling services of recyclable materials.

“Anyone on city water has no choice and cannot opt out of the city’s contracted sanitation services,” Brune said.

Veterans Recycling goes to residences and businesses to remove items for them. Brune said they are in partnership with Reeves Recycling on Hwy. 161 where he sells vinyl siding and plastics.

Veterans Recycling does not have a site to receive items. It had a facility outside of Conway, where they collected metal, lumber, pallets, electronics and furniture, but the property owner did not renew its lease.

Mayor Art Brooke asked if a Ward collection site would meet EPA requirements.

Brune said if he takes fiberglass insulation it has to be sealed in bags. Tires have to be accounted for. TVs will cost Veterans Recycling for transporting them to out-of-state recycling facilities.

Brooke said the Co-Op building is city-owned property that will be developed into a maintenance building for the water department. The Co-Op building is surrounded by homes. He said the residents would have “a lot heartburn” if a recycling collection site were to be placed there.

The mayor told Brune that he is currently violating city codes.

“What you do is a good thing, but you can’t do that out at your home,” Brooke said.

After the meeting city code- enforcement officer Jason McKee told The Leader that Brune is operating a business in a residential area without a business license and having an unsanitary and unsightly residence on a daily basis.

Brune is hauling scrap to his home on 206 Owen St. and sorting it. Neighbors have complained to the city about the appearance of his property. Brune applied for a license in July and September and was rejected.

Brooke said the city has an agreement with the Central Arkansas Regional Solid Waste Management District to provide a trailer to pick up certain items for residents to dispose of. The city holds an annual citywide cleanup. Brooke said there are two people with trailers picking up items for residents.

“I’m sorry people who call you don’t know we offer services,” Brooke said.

He said residents with sofas, furniture and other large items can call the C and S Sanitation office, and they will pick it up with a fee.

Brooke is treasurer of the solid waste management district board and said he has not seen Veterans Recycling come before the board. Brune said he turned in a proposal last summer to the solid waste management district to collect and buy junk appliances and white goods for recycling, but has not heard back.

 In other business, the council approved the purchase of a 2014 Dodge Ram truck for the police department. The city received $23,500 from an anonymous donor for the pickup. The police department has to provide $2,500 for the remaining cost.

 The council passed an ordinance requiring candidates for city offices to file as independent candidates with the Lonoke County Clerk no earlier than 20 days before the primary elections and no later than noon on the day before primaries.