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Council approves curbside recycling
The Yuma City Council on Wednesday approved a measure to begin offering a curbside recycling program for single-family residences in the city, with Mayor Al Krieger casting the lone “no” against it.
The program could begin by spring.
The vote came after the council heard from a number of people who all spoke in favor of it.
Perhaps the most compelling voice for recycling was 11-year-old Mary Stofft. She said she spoke on behalf of the student action group at Castle Dome Middle School and her Girl Scout troop, both organizations that are actively working on recycling.
She thought it would be nice for the city to have curbside recycling so she and her friends and classmates wouldn't have to prevail on her father to transport the materials they collect to a recycle bin.
Charles Balch liked the idea of recycling to save the city money. Mary Ann Easterday noted that when people come to Yuma, they're surprised to learn the city doesn't already have a recycling program. And it's one of only a few cities in the state that don't, she added.
“I know (the council members) have heard many comments both positive and negative,” said Betty Borland. “But it's the right thing to do. ... It would enhance and beautify the community. I feel strongly this is an opportunity for us to leave the community a better place for the young leaders to come.”
Ken Rosevear, executive director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, reminded the council that he had come before it with a similar proposal two years ago. “It's time to put it to a vote.”
First, Krieger made a motion to put the question before city voters in the upcoming city election. His motion died for lack of a second.
Councilwoman Leslie McClendon then moved to enter into a contract with Allied Waste to implement curbside recycling. Her motion passed 6-1.
Krieger explained that he opposed the program in the interests of taxpayers. Under the program, residents would do much of the work, sorting recyclables from their regular trash without any benefit, he said. Although there will be no fee increase for solid waste service, he pointed out, there also won't be a fee reduction.
Krieger also said he's heard concerns by people that their trash collection service would be reduced by 50 percent. Under the recycling plan, regular trash would be picked up once a week and the other regular pickup day would be for recyclables.
McClendon said she believes gaining residents' acceptance for recycling will be an educational process. “We'll need to go through some bumps. But I saw the list of things that can be recycled ... things we use every day. We have to move forward.”
The recycling program could be ready to go by May, said Joel Olea, director of field operations for the city. He estimated that between the savings on landfill costs and the city's shared revenue from the sale of the recyclable materials, the city would realize an annual savings of $144,000.