Company pitches recycling in SF

Company pitches recycling in SF
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Bryan Barker has made South Fulton residents an offer that’s hard to refuse.
With interest in recycling on the rise, Barker Brothers and Republic Services are trying to make recycling more affordable for residents.
Barker, the division manager for the company, appeared before the South Fulton City Commission at its regular session Thursday night to offer a curbside recycling program for only $1 extra per month per residence.
He said the minimal fee simply covers the cost of an added recycling cart for each home for a five-year period. The carts cost the company roughly $67 to $68 each.
Barker initially pitched a proposal that involved the company’s using an alternating schedule to pick up South Fulton’s garbage one week and reyclables the next week. Customers would be asked to simply throw recyclables — such as cardboard, plastics, newspapers, magazines and aluminum or metal cans — into their recycling carts without even having to bag the items.
He said by separating the recyclables, customers will be “amazed” at how much less regular trash they will have in their trash cart.
If South Fulton par-ticipates, the community would be one of the first local cities to have a curbside recycling program. Barker said he has also presented proposals to Woodland Mills and Dresden.
South Fulton city commissioner Jeff Vowell asked if the program has to be citywide or if it could be per house and Barker explained it would really have to be a majority citywide, although there would be some exceptions for residents who absolutely aren’t capable of doing recycling.
Barker said if the city gets on board, city officials and the company would need to determine how to approach the program. He said the company would like to have a joint contract for trash and recycling for at least five years in order to recoup the cart expense.
South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said he and Vowell will both be leaving the commission after the November city election and he isn’t necessarily comfortable with making a five-year decision. As Barker expressed a willingness to work with the city, it was noted if three years remain on the city’s existing contract, it could be extended for two years to reach the five years.
Vowell said many residents will be adamant in wanting weekly trash pickup rather than every other week, but he said he knows curbside recycling will considerably cut down the amount of regular trash and likes the concept.
Commissioner Tony Perry said the company where he is employed went to recycling and reduced the amount being taken to the landfill. He said it could be a plus for economic development with businesses that may check to see if a city is “a green community.”
Barker said recycling is a benefit to citizens in that as they recycle and those pounds increase, the pounds of regular trash being taken to the landfill will decrease — potentially reflecting a decrease in rates or price increases over time.
After Vowell asked about South Fulton’s starting out more on a voluntary basis, Barker agreed the company can provide the program to the city if 450 residences — roughly half of those in the city — will sign up for curbside recycling.
“I could do it with 450,” Barker said.
Under that offer, the company would still do regular trash pickup every week and recycling pickup every other week.
“I like that,” Vowell said, adding it’s tough to mandate it for everyone and it will likely serve as motivation as people see their neighbors becoming involved in recycling.
“I’d be the first to sign up for it,” Perry said.
The commission voted 4-0 for city manager Debra Craig to get the word out to the community about the curbside recycling program in order to gauge interest before any official action is taken.
In other action during Thursday night’s 90-minute long meeting, which was opened with prayer led by Perry and with the Pledge of Allegiance, the city commission:
• Heard from Bill Homra in regard to a fire call where the South Fulton Fire Department responded to extinguish a tree stump fire on property he owns. He said the fire department was there about 15 minutes and he received a bill for $3,500 — which he said is “not justified” since he did not call the fire department for assistance.
Homra said he believes a neighbor called the fire department, but it was not necessary.
Crocker said he feared this is what would happen once the city commission voted to change the rural fire policy and the fire department began responding to every call. He said the other three commissioners in attendance could address Homra’s concerns since he did not vote for the change in the policy.
Perry said the rural fire situation is a county problem and commissioners knew it would be a problem, while Vowell said he would like to review the ordinance before any action is taken.
Mrs. Craig said the ordinance sets a policy whereby anyone who is not a subscriber to the city’s rural fire subscription program will be billed $3,500 if the city’s fire department responds to their property. She said she has been told the fire was spreading and possibly causing a risk in the area, but Homra said his employee who was burning the stump lives next door and was checking the fire periodically.
Homra asked the commission to either waive the charge or compromise.
Vowell said he would like to take the matter under advisement and study it with the city manager before the commission makes any decision.
• Voted to authorize the city manager to correspond with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to get the actual information and costs, in writing, so the commission can make a decision about a request to repay the city’s share of preliminary work from 2000 for a bridge repair project.
The action from 12 years ago pre-dates the current commission.
The city ultimately found help for the bridge repairs through Obion County’s highway department, which sustained the bridges in question by drilling holes into the structures and placing pylons in them.
• Approved a resolution concerning limitations of the activities of Explorer Scout firefighter post members, with the document covering basic safety rules in detail.
• Approved the second and final reading of a property maintenance ordinance.
• Learned a majority of residents on Pamela Circle did not give permission for trenchwork to be done on their property for the installation of street lights and the project will continue along the highway without Pamela Circle included.
• Approved a request for a sick time gift for an employee who has exhausted all of their sick and vacation time, which will allow other employees to “gift” some of their time.
• Voted to table a resolution proposed by Vowell for procedures for operation of city government in the event of a vacancy in the city manager’s position. (A separate story on this item alone appeared in Friday’s edition of The Messenger.)
• Was reminded about the Twin Cities’ annual Banana Festival, which kicked off Saturday with a ball and continues through next Saturday with a full slate of events. The one-ton banana pudding for the grand parade will be made in South Fulton’s firetruck bay.
Vice Mayor Charles Moody was absent from Thursday night’s lengthy meeting. Published in The Messenger 9.24.12

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