Township’s recycling costs nearly doubling

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

Though Allegan Township’s recycling ballot proposal for the Aug. 7 election was designed to bring in more revenue to cover the cost of switching to providing curbside recycling pickup service, it now may fall short.

That’s due to price increases for the Kent County landfill’s sorting center.

Township treasurer Jane Waanders said, “There aren’t that many haulers to deal with any more and they have notified Allegan County that the ‘tipping fee’ is going to go from $40 to $70.”

That fee is charged each time a dumpster-sized bin at the township hall is picking up. Waanders said that price nearly doubling is driving up the costs of recycling services across the county.

“Our costs are going to go up,” she said. “We’re going to have to wait and see if we get our vote, because it will be back to the drawing board regarding the new fee structure.”

The township’s ballot question asks voters to approve a mandatory $36 surcharge per household. Currently, households pay a voluntary $25 and can bring their recyclables to the township hall and their household hazardous waste to a county site.

“We’ll have to see if we can still afford curbside pickup,” Waanders said. “My guess is that if it passes, we probably can do (curbside) for two or three years and after that we’d need to start drawing from the general fund.”

That is not entirely different from how the township operates currently, as it draws on general money to offer trash drop-off days and electronic recycling once- or twice-per-year events.

The drive behind switching to curbside pickup comes from individuals misusing the recycling bins at the township hall. On many occasions, the township hall’s security cameras show people throwing trash into the bins; they can’t always be identified. That trash, when it is separated out from the recycling, is then weighed and the township is billed for its removal.

Waanders said, “What bothers me the most is if there’s too much garbage or its not all rinsed off, the whole container’s worth gets put in the dump, even if 25 percent of it was recyclables.”

 

Hall work

Allegan Township hall’s kitchen and restrooms will get an update with new renovations planned for later this year.

Board members approved up to $36,000 worth of work through Beaudoin Construction Inc., the only bidder on the project.

Township supervisor Steve Schulz said after no other companies bid the work, township officials called several contractors.

“The others were just too busy,” he said. “It’s really hopping right now.

“But (Beaudoin) has done a real good job for us before; I have complete confidence in him.”

The company constructed an addition to the north side of the hall last winter, adding to the hall’s storage space.

Since the work is all interior, it can be done in the poor weather of winter.

Waanders said, “It should be done by the end of March or hopefully sooner.”

The work involves plumbing work and installing new flooring, ceiling tiles, toilet partitions, toilets, laminate counter tops, drinking fountain and some paint work.

Waanders confirmed the township had slotted $40,000 for the work in this year’s budget.

Clerk Linda Evans said, “With the building the age it is, we’d like to update it.”

Schulz said, “Some work needs to be done.”

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