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Members of the Minot City Council are seeking more information before they make a decision on whether to begin a curbside recycling program.
Several members of the council expressed concern at the Aug. 17 council meeting related to how some aspects of the voluntary recycling program would be paid for, and whether some details had been sufficiently ironed out.
Ultimately, Mayor Shaun Sipma requested Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson to prepare additional information on startup costs for the program and other details so the council could revisit the issue.
Sorenson provided information that included the capital investment into what would be needed operate the program, including a fulltime recycling coordinator, a compactor, two compactor trailers, and roughly 7,000 containers that would be distributed to residents using the recycling program.
Council member Carrie Evans’ motion to approve the curbside recycling in concept and determine in the next few months what the associated costs would be and how to pay for them was defeated. Alderman Paul Pitner sought to delay any decision on recycling until July 2021, which would coincide with City scheduled discussion about the potential of finding a site for a new landfill.
“I think we do need to tell our residents, ‘Yes, we’re going to more forward with this,’ or ‘We’re done. We’re just not going to do it,” Council president Lisa Olson said. “Putting it off another year frustrates them. It frustrates me.”
Pitner’s motion to delay further discussion until July 2021 failed.
One of the concerns expressed is the potential location of a transfer facility, where recyclable material collected by City of Minot sanitation crews would be brought. The materials would be loaded onto larger trucks and hauled to recycling companies in Minneapolis.
Council member Mark Jantzer said the City needs to decide where the transfer facility will be built. Sorenson said the preference would be to build the facility at the current landfill, where there is available space already owned by the City. Compounding that discussion is the City’s desire to relocate the landfill entrance from its current location on the north side of the landfill to the south side, just off 37th Avenue SW.
Jantzer said the location of the entrance would have an impact on where the transfer facility should be located, and also potentially bring additional costs associated with relocating the entrance, the landfill scale, and building a section of new roadway.
“I’m all in favor of conceptually supporting curbside recycling,” he said. “But I think it’s naïve to think that we don’t have to solve these other problems and come up with other funds in order to make that a reality.”
The City has been discussing curbside recycling since at least 2016 when it created an ad hoc committee, which found strong community support for recycling when it studied the issue. The switch to automated sanitation trucks in the summer of 2017 was partially to prepare for curbside recycling, as the trucks would be used for both sanitation collection and recycling collection.