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City to remove cardboard recycling bins temporarily

City to remove cardboard recycling bins temporarily

Abatement administrative fee increase headed to full council

May 11th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

A cardboard recycling bin is filled to the brim Thursday in Memorial Park.

Photo by Mark Wilson /News Tribune.

Starting in mid-June, Jefferson City residents and businesses will have to use other facilities to recycle cardboard besides the recycling receptacles throughout the city.

New World Recycling will terminate its cardboard-recycling contract with the city effective June 15, Jefferson City Neighborhood Services Manager Jayme Abbott told the city's Public Works and Planning Committee on Thursday.

The city entered a zero-dollar contract with New World Recycling in 2015 or 2016. Corey and Kim Toebben, co-owners of the company, said they have had a contract with the city for more than 14 years.

To give themselves time to look at other cardboard recycling options, city staff and Jefferson City Council members plan to move all the cardboard-recycling receptacles June 15 or soon after to an area of Hyde Park where the public cannot access them.

Until the city decides a new course of action, Abbott said, the public will have to use other cardboard-recycling facilities like New World Recycling at 2007 Idlewood Road; Republic Services at 5645 Moreau River Access Road; and Federal International at 2730 W. Main St.

Residents also can use the city's single-stream recycling through Republic Services, which also accepts newspaper and cardboard.

City staff will decide whether there is community interest in the service and, if so, will implement a new cardboard recycling service. The city does not know what the new option will be or when it will be implemented, Abbott said.

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"This will give us the opportunity to do something if (the community) does want to keep them, to modify the bins to make them cardboard only because some of the bins do accept paper, some of the bins do accept plastics," she said. "If we could just make it straight cardboard and modify the bins to where it accepts more cardboard, (it won't) be filled so quickly, and maybe have the ability to downsize the number of containers and lowering the cost ultimately."

Several councilmembers said the recycling bins are heavily used by city and county residents, along with businesses, and they want to explore all options to decide the most cost-effective approach.

There currently are nine total cardboard-recycling containers at six locations: McKay Park, 1700 Southridge Drive; Memorial Park, 2214 W. Main St.; Fire Station No. 1, 621 W. High St.; Fire Station No. 2, 2400 E. McCarty St.; Fire Station No. 5, 1005 Fairgrounds Road; and the City Hall parking lot, 420 E. McCarty St.

The city received several complaints from residents about the receptacles being full or about illegal cardboard dumping over the last few years, councilmembers and city staff said. Part of the reason for this could be several businesses and county residents use the bins, Abbott said.

Since 2015, the city has experienced problems with New World Recycling not servicing the receptacles every week per the contract, Abbott said.

New World Recycling said Thursday it will terminate the contract due to cost-effectiveness and disagreements.

"Due to the current market rate of materials as well as a disagreement between the city and New World as to the interpretation of clauses in the contract, New World has opted to exercise the termination clause in the contract," the Toebbens said in a joint email.

In other action Thursday, the committee approved increasing the abatement administrative fee from $100 to $250, sending it to the City Council for approval. The city has not increased the fee since 2007.

If a property owner does not address a code violation after 10 days since receiving notice of a nuisance, the city can abate the issue. The city clerk imposes a fee to cover administrative costs when code enforcement abates nuisances, and the fee is placed on a special tax bill with the city after abatement. An 8 percent interest rate is charged after 30 days.

If the bill is not paid, the city sends the tax bill to the Cole County collector so it can be included in a property tax assessment.

The total abatement process averages about $340, Abbott said, so the increase will help offset some of the cost. City staff decided not to increase it more than $250 at this time because they thought it would be too much of an increase all at once, she noted.

Increasing the fee could encourage voluntary code compliance and deter property owners from misusing code enforcement officials, using the city as "property managers," Abbott said.

The city's Department of Planning and Protective Services will get new code enforcement software, which staff and council members said they hope will create more code enforcement transparency.