Elmwood demands county funds for recycling costs
Officials of Elmwood Township and Leelanau County’s Solid Waste Council appear to be at an impasse over funding issues related to a recycling site located at the township’s old fire hall property on Cherry Bend Road near M-22.
The most heavily-used recycling site in Leelanau County could close at the end of the year unless the Solid Waste Council agrees to pay rent to Elmwood Township, as it does at some private sites elsewhere in the county, or pays to repave the recycling site.
Township officials have been complaining for more than a year that steel bins used to collect recyclables on the site, as well as heavy trucks used to remove and place bins on the site, are destroying pavement on the township-owned property that must be repaired.
“Taxpayers of Elmwood Township contribute more to the county’s Solid Waste Council through recycling fees than anyone in the county, and shouldn’t also have to pay for Elmwood Township to maintain the county’s recycling site,” said township supervisor Jack Kelly. “The Solid Waste Council should use the recycling money it already collects to maintain its own recycling site.”
The chairman of the Solid Waste Council, Bill Perkins, appeared at this week’s meeting of the Elmwood Township Board and spoke during a “public comment” opportunity at the meeting.
Perkins said it was unlikely the Solid Waste Council would be able to comply with Elmwood Township’s request. He noted that Empire Township recently repaved and erected a screening fence around the county recycling site in Empire Township – with the township’s own money.
Perkins said it was likely that if the Solid Waste Council paid Elmwood Township for its site that Empire Township and other municipalities would also expect reimbursement for improvements to their recycling sites. He said such funds are simply not available in the recycling budget.
“We’re in the recycling business, not the parking lot paving business,” Perkins said.
Last year, the Township Board authorized Kelly to work with the county and its Solid Waste Council toward a solution – an effort which has since failed. Earlier this month, Kelly received a letter from Perkins indicating that the Solid Waste Council has no money to provide to Elmwood Township.
“I have advised Leelanau County officials that the county recycling bins located on Cherry Bend Road will need to be removed from the premises no later than January 1, 2013,” Kelly said. “When an alternative recycling location is identified within Elmwood Township – on nontownship owned property – I trust that it will be placed in a convenient spot…” Kelly said.