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County seeking grant to help with recycling center

JoCo Commissioners meeting
A larger crowd than usual was in attendance for the Johnson County Commissioners meeting. The commissioners apply for a grant to improve the county’s transfer station recycling center, which was unanimously approved. Photo by Marlana Ward

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

Johnson County Commissioners met on Thursday, August 16 before an uncharacteristically large crowd. Among the business discussed at the meeting was the request for a grant to be pursued which would allow  for the purchase of equipment to be used in the recycling area of the Johnson County Transfer Station. County Purchasing Agent Dustin Shearin presented the commissioners with information regarding the request.

“The recycling side of the transfer station is on a slope,” he said. “New equipment would make it keeping the area safer in the winter and clean of debris year-round possible.”

Shearin informed the commissioners that a match from the county would be required to obtain the grant but that due to the county’s size and economic level, that match should be on the minimal side of proposed matching rates. Commissioner Bill Adams made the motion to move forward with the grant application, which Commissioner Rick Snyder seconded. All twelve commissioners in attendance approved the proposal.

Shearin went on to explain in greater detail how the equipment would add to the safety of not only the workers at the site but also the public and their property as they utilize the transfer station’s different portions.

“With the proposed snow plow blade and sweeper attachments respectively, we would be able to more properly clear snow and ice from the sloped drive and lot areas leading to the recycling drop off points at the Solid Waste Transfer Station during winter months,” Shearin said. “We could also sweep areas clean from small debris such as nails and small bits of metal which may cause harm or puncture vehicle tires of the county vehicles and public vehicles using the facility, increasing safety and reducing potential property damage. Also, there are plans for using the bucket attachment to aid in a more efficient loading technique into recycling containers.”

As far as the county’s potential financial responsibility toward the matching requirement of the grant, and why it was expected that the county’s share would be low, Shearin said, “The grant information states that a local match of 10 to 50 percent is required based off of several factors. It is anticipated that Johnson County would be on the lower end of these percentages from prior grant awards having a low match requirement. It is great to bring back to Johnson County grant funding and to have the ability to purchase equipment at a fraction of the cost instead of using 100 percent local tax dollars to fund the purchase.”

When asked about future costs to the county while operating and maintaining the equipment if obtained, Shearin stated that while maintenance costs would be required, the benefits of the equipment in the overall work of the county would offset much of the expense.

“As with all equipment there comes upkeep necessary for proper functioning equipment, so yes there would be a minor cost involved. With that in mind, there are certain recycling percentage regulations, or waste reduction goals, which Johnson County and several other entities within our Solid Waste Planning Region are working to follow. Everything we can do at this point in time to help reach our regional waste reduction goal will help to offset potentially higher costing program changes needed to meet these goals in the future.”

Shearin emphasized that the county hopes that by investing in the recycling areas at the transfer station, the people of the county would be encouraged to utilize those facilities more.

“With this idea of a more maintained recycling program location, we are looking to see more recycling efforts made by citizens due to the elimination of the worry of a flat tire or personal property damage when dropping off items at the transfer station.”