Saturday, April 13, 2024

After considering cutting service, Leland extends recycling contract, some projects on chopping block

Town of Leland residents will have their recycling picked up monthly, not bi-monthly, beginning in July. (Port City Daily photo/File)

Update: Town residents will not automatically receive a second recycling bin but can arrange to acquire one through GFL if needed.

LELAND — Recycling service will continue in Leland for at least another year, through next summer. Starting in July, crews will pick up recycling just once a month — not twice.

Though town leaders were considering cutting the service altogether earlier this year due to rising costs in the industry, Town Council voted Thursday to continue the service.

Related: Leland to acquire 17-acre highway tract for $2.8 million

With the upcoming budget looking tighter because of the impact of coronavirus on the economy, Council still wanted to ensure residents continue to receive a service they currently receive, even if it’s less frequent.

In recent years, China’s import policies and the United State’s lack of a domestic system to process recyclable material has left local facilities with excess and often unusable products.

Cutting pick-ups in half

Instead of bi-monthly, GFL Environmental crews (formerly Waste Industries) will pick up town residents’ recycling once a month beginning in July. To maintain the same level of service, the town would have had to pay $152,289 more this upcoming fiscal year after its current contract with GFL expires June 30.

So, for $577,000, the town entered into a one-year contract with GFL to continue recycling service on a monthly basis. The reduction in service comes with a $6,000 price increase compared to the town’s current recycling contract.

The Town will share comprehensive instructions on what the expect from the changes by mid-May, according to the town’s spokesperson.

‘Either or’

Council voted to extend the contract ahead of the town’s special budget retreat May 11. Town Manager David Hollis told Council before voting on the item Thursday, April 16 that the recycling contract would take the place of any other project they would otherwise try to fit into the upcoming budget.

“It’s really coming down to an either or. If we’re going to continue this service, then we’re not going to do any other projects this year,” Hollis told Council. “We’ve eliminated all of our projects, we’ve eliminated any work in the parks, virtually anything in addition to basic things we’re doing right now.”

Essential services residents receive are not at risk of being eliminated, the town’s spokesperson clarified.

Leland Finance Director Carly Hagg said at this point, no projects have been eliminated from the town’s capital projects list.

However, funding for some projects may be removed after the budget retreat, according to Hagg.

It’s likely that funding for planned improvements at the town’s parks will be first to dry up; financing the planned multi-million park projects at Sturgeon Creek and Founder’s Park was uncertain even before the coronavirus shut down the local and national economy.

Town leaders expect to see the biggest impact through sales tax, Hollis told Council. At $5.952 million as of Thursday, Hagg said the town’s sales tax revenue for the current fiscal year is on track to come in higher than budgeted, at $5.955 million. The upcoming deposit anticipated in May should come in normal, Hagg said.

However, sales tax is reported quarterly. That means the town won’t see March’s sales tax numbers — which will reflect stay-at-home orders and mandated closures — until June.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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