Photo by John F. Russell
Jerry Mason drops off cardboard Monday afternoon at a recycling unit at Waste Management. Yampa Valley Recycles and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council presented funding requests to the Routt County commissioners for recycling programs.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners said Monday they want to see more detailed budgets from two local nonprofit organizations that promote recycling and sustainability before the county can act on their funding requests for 2012.
Yampa Valley Recycles and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council receive funding through the county from fees collected by the Milner Landfill operated privately by Twin Landfill Corp.
Since 2003, the tipping fees have been collected when trucks deliver solid waste to the landfill west of Milner, Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said Monday.
Of the 40 cents collected per cubic yard, 25 cents are dedicated to recycling efforts, he said. Another 15 cents are devoted to repaying the county the $664,000 it contributed to match $1.4 million in federal funds for the reconstruction of the MacGregor Bridge.
Zopf told the commissioners that Yampa Valley Recycles is requesting $10,000 in 2012 (the same amount as in 2011) from the tipping fee fund, and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is asking for $10,000 in 2012, up from $7,000 last year.
Both organizations submitted detailed letters describing their activities, but they did not include enough detail about where the money has been spent to satisfy the commissioners.
“I’d like to see their overall budget,” Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. “When they’re asking for an increase, then I’d like to know why.”
Specifically, she said she did not understand the roles of the Sustainability Council’s four part-time employees. Commissioner Doug Monger observed that funding salaries tends to turn into a long-term obligation.
In a letter to the commissioners, Yampa Valley Recycles Chairman Craig Schifter told the commissioners that in 2011, the organization intercepted 288 gallons of paper per week from a junk mail recycling effort at the Sundance post office. He said the organization’s goals in 2012 include increasing local recycling rates through education.
“With your generous support, Yampa Valley Recycles would like to create a community where waste reduction, reuse and recycling are a way of life,” Schifter wrote.
Sustainability Council board Chairwoman Angela Ashby wrote that in 2011-12, her organization expanded its Zero Waste Initiative at public events to include Winter Carnival, the farmers market, Yampa River Festival, Ride the Rockies, The Wine Festival at Steamboat and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“In 2011-12, the Zero Waste Initiative and Sustainable Schools, both focused on waste reduction, will see the most growth in the coming year,” Ashby said.
Money from the tipping fee fund would support that goal in the form of staff time, outreach, educational materials and equipment, she said.
But the tipping fee fund is not growing as rapidly as it did a few years ago, when the building economy, and thus deliveries to the landfill, were more active.
Routt County staff accountant Tom Heilner gave the commissioners a spreadsheet showing that the landfill fees and bridge fund fee combined raised $102,990 in 2008. Actual receipts in 2010 were $55,843, and the county budgeted for $58,200, Heilner said.