Archive for Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Council discusses county’s mandatory recycling program

March 9, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: March 9, 2010, 12:00 p.m.

The Johnson County Commissioners want to have a public hearing about its new plan to make curbside recycling mandatory in the county.

But before that meeting was even scheduled, commissioner Calvin Hayden got an earful from some De Soto residents.

“You guys need to keep your nose out of our business,” Bob Garrett said to Hayden. “I have a problem with the county telling us what to do.”

During Thursday’s regular De Soto city council meeting, Julie Coon, environmental specialist with the county’s environmental department, gave a presentation to the council and to city residents about the proposed program.

During her presentation she said the county’s current landfill, which receives about 5,000 tons of waste per day and around 2 million tons of waste each year, is expected to be completely full by the year 2027 if not sooner. The county’s big worry is what will happen to the county’s waste once the county landfill is closed.

“That many trucks, that much tonnage of waste having to be shipped out farther out… our cost are going to go up in the future unless we are able to protect our resources of landfills now to make them last as long as they can,” Coon said. “Landfills are a resource and we don’t want to be filing it with waste that we could be diverting. Because the diversion is county wide, we can prepare for the future and we can make these resources of landfill last as long as possible.”

A recent waste evaluation showed that much of what the people in the county were throwing away could be recycled.

The study showed that 42 percent of all of the garbage being thrown out was paper, 13 percent was plastic, 11 percent yard waste, 4 percent glass and 3 percent metal.

The county’s recycling rate is at 22 percent where the national rate is about 34 percent Coon said.

She and the commissioners hope that if curbside recycling becomes mandatory that rate will increase.

“We are well below the average, but we are a community considers ourselves to be above average and we should really strive to be above average in our recycling rates as well,” she said.

But Mayor Dave Anderson, and other elected officials don’t think forcing De Soto to start collecting curbside recycling after having decided a few years ago not have it was the right thing for the county to do. His biggest concern was the increase in user fees that would come with the new program. He believes the proposed program wasn’t going to make residents recycle anymore than they already do especially when it’s to help protect a landfill that the city doesn’t use.

Currently, the city’s solid waste is shipped to the Hamm Sanitary Landfill in Jefferson County, while the rest of the county uses the Johnson County-Deffenbaugh Landfill.

“This is an imposed mandatory tax of the citizens of De Soto and it has no benefit,” Anderson said.

He later corrected his statement and said it wouldn’t be a tax, but an increase in waste removal fees.

Anderson wanted a similar study done to see if De Soto residents recycled more than the average Johnson County resident, because he believed they did.

Lane Sekavec agreed. “If you want to know how to reduce, reuse, recycle have a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old that go to Starside Elementary,” Sekavec said. “When they started talking about that in school, if I there was something that could have been composted, recycled, reused, rebuilt or whatever I couldn’t get it into the trash can.”

Councilmember Mitra Templin disagreed with their observations.

“Whenever we have trash pick up, I cannot tell you how discouraging it is to see cardboard sticking out of these 95 gallon drums when it’s so easy to take it down to the old Apple Market and put it into the bin, but people aren’t doing that,” she said “If you offer citizens the convenience of having curbside recycling they will use it and it will make a significant impact on the resources available to the broader community, which we are very much a part of.”

She said she worried about what was going to happen in the future once area landfills start to close and they look at the Hamm landfill as a destination.

Coon said Hamm gets 1,000 tons of waste a day while the Johnson County landfill gets about 5,000 tons a day. This is not including waste that might be diverted to the Johnson County landfill when other metro landfills are closed once they are filled.

Coon said the 70-year life expectancy of the Hamm landfill will be greatly diminished once Johnson County starts transporting its waste there.

Street projects

Summer street improvement season is right around the corner, but with limited funding city crews are looking to stretch their dollars.

This year the street department has about $298,000 for street projects.

“Our total resources are limited this year, as far as city resources go,” Brungardt said. “We see if this trend continues we are going to fall further and further behind on what streets get any attention at all. Industry wide the less intense maintenance activities tend to be more bang for the buck.”

During Thursday’s city council meeting, Mike Brungardt, city engineer, presented the council with a couple of options when it came to this year’s street maintenance.

Of the total amount in this year’s budget, $49,000 will be devoted to mill and overlay work for Wyandotte Street from 83rd Street to the bridge. This project is a part of the Johnson County CARS program is program. $74,000 will be set aside to mill and overlay 98th Street from Waverly Street to Post Oak Drive. Then $30,000 will be used to seal cracks at various parts of the city leaving the department with about $144,000 for other street projects.

This money could go to milling and overlaying parts of Lexington Avenue, but it wouldn’t get very far.

“If we just wanted to mill and overlay every street, we are just not going to get to them before they all fall apart,” Brungardt said.

To stretch their dollars, instead of picking two streets to mill and overlay, Brungardt suggested treating multiple streets with a slurry seal to extend their life for about seven more years.

Burgardt said the slurry seal is an asphalt binder material that is about a quarter inch thick that will help fill some gaps and cracks, but will not create a smooth surface like an asphalt mill and overlay.

Councilmember Ron McDaniel gave the project his seal of approval. He told the council how some streets in Prairie Village had been slurry sealed and still look the same after four years.

“It’s still there,” he said about the sealant. “They didn’t have to do anything to that street.”

The council unanimously voted to have Brungardt start the mill and overlay projects on Wyandotte and 98th streets and to move forward with the slurry seal projects.

In other business the council:

• Unanimously voted to designate the Olathe News as its new official newspaper.

• Directed Patrick Reavey, city attorney, to draft a lease for the De Soto Cemetery Board to lease storage space at city hall.

• Heard from Darrel Zimmer about the De Soto Rotary Club’s sunflower project. The club will be selling T-shirts for $20 and packets of seeds for $5.

• Unanimously approved resolution 866 authorizing improvements to the fire station and the issuance of general obligation bonds for those improvements.

• Unanimously approved resolution 867 authorizing staff, the city’s financial advisor and bond counsel to proceed with the sale of bonds.

• Unanimously approved to have the mayor execute and agreement with Johnson County to provide FlexRide services.

• Unanimously approved resolution 868 supporting the use of housing tax credits for Valley Springs Homes Phase II.

• Unanimously approved to contract with Wald & Co. for $8,000 for the city’s July 4 fireworks show.

• Unanimously approved the Kaw Valley Sportman Association’s request for $786.

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