Brooke recycling to resume

WELLSBURG – Brooke County residents accustomed to depositing recyclable metal, plastic and paper into bins maintained by the county’s solid waste authority will be able to do so again soon at all but one of the county’s five sites.

The solid waste authority moved Tuesday to return the bins on Sept. 2 to Hooverson Heights Primary School, Follansbee Middle School, Brooke High School, the Wellsburg Rite Aid and Bethany. A bin won’t be returned to Wellsburg Middle School unless there is strong demand for it, said Glenn Kocher, the board’s chairman.

The bins were pulled earlier this summer because the board lacked funds for the program.

The board members agreed the bins will be returned to the four sites on a trial basis, pending funding for the recycling program.

The decision came following news the board has been awarded a $13,000 grant from the state Solid Waste Management Board for the recycling program.

Kocher said the decision also was influenced by an increase of about $1,100 in tipping fees received from the Brooke County Landfill and an increase in money dispersed by the state Solid Waste Management Board from tipping fees collected throughout the state.

He said the increase in the local tipping fees has been attributed to waste material brought to the local landfill by natural gas companies. He didn’t know what led to the increase in state funding.

The board also has applied for a $116,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection but won’t know how much, if any, of it is awarded until November.

Kocher and board member Ted Pauls said many people don’t realize the cost involved in operating the recycling program.

Kocher said the board budgets about $8,000 each year for the collection, transportation and sorting of the recyclable materials and typically receives about $3,000 for the material from area businesses that recycle it.

The rest of the cost is supported by grants and a 50 cent fee collected for each ton dumped at the landfill, an amount that hasn’t risen since 1991, he said.

During its recent financial crunch, the board moved to reduce the number of part-time workers at its recycling center from three to one.

On Tuesday the board agreed to return one of the other two to work to assist in sorting a large number of recyclable materials, including televisions and other electronics, left outside the board’s recycling center in Beech Bottom.

Board member Santo Santoro said when the board asked residents to bring their recyclables to the center, he was concerned that few would comply.

But he and Becky Harlan, the board’s recycling director; said that hasn’t been the case. Instead, Harlan asked the board to add an employee to assist with sorting because she was concerned the large deposit of recyclables was becoming an eyesore.

The center is near the Brooke County Animal Shelter on Mac Barnes Drive off state Route 2 south of Beech Bottom.

Board members and Harlan were asked if they had considered establishing a single drop-off point, at a central location, to cut costs.

Pauls said doing so could result in more transportation costs because the bins there would be filled more quickly and would have to be emptied more frequently.

Harlan said bins were placed at local schools because they are major contributors of recyclable paper and their presence encourages youth to recycle.

In other business, the board:

Re-elected Kocher chairman, Pauls vice chairman and Robert DiCiccio secretary-treasurer. Kocher told the board that after serving the board for 20 years, he won’t seek re-appointment when his term is up in July so that he may pursue other interests.

Accepted a bid of $5,250 from Teed and Associates of Charleston for a state-required audit. The bid was the lowest of four submitted.

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