Liberty accepts contract for Pickens’ recycling

LIBERTY — The city of Liberty will soon begin collecting curbside recyclables in the city of Pickens.
After a 3-2 vote on Monday, with Mayor Michael Sheriff and Councilman Rick Clark not in attendance, council voted to accept an agreement with Pickens.
The passage of the contract saw some opposition, as councilmen Josh Harrison and Brian Petersen both questioned the procedure used in making the decision.
“Based on current costs, so much for the truck, so much for labor, so much for maintenance, we would have a projected income based on the average annual cost compared to, say, the income from the cardboard over the last year,” Petersen said. “I propose to call for a special meeting, and in the meantime, we seek some numbers on projected expenses and income based on tonnage data that is already available to us. This would put it all in black and white.”
“I am 100 percent in favor of recycling,” Petersen said. “This has nothing to do with recycling. It is just about why can’t we see some data. We need some data that we all can look at and have some insurance that it will go as projected.”
Harrison agreed.
“I just think if those numbers are available, we should look at those before we make a decision, because we owe that to our citizens — it is their tax money,” he said. “We need to make a sure they get a return on their investment and not just say we think we will make money.”
“We have a one-year contract,” councilman and mayor pro tem Lavant Padgett said. “I think we will make enough money to cover that one year, and at the end of one year if we are not making money we will pull out. We have one year and a chance to make a substantial amount of money for the city of Liberty. I think it is a no-brainer.”
Dwight Yates, Padgett and Walt McJunkin voted for the agreement, while Harrison and Petersen opposed.
The Courier reported last week that the Pickens city council had agreed to the contract that would allow the city of Liberty to take over the recycling duties for the residents of Pickens. Recycling has been handled in the past for Pickens by Pickens County at a cost of about $14,000 per year. Pickens city administrator Katherine Brackett said it was more economically sound to allow Liberty to handle the duties. Liberty will collect all residential curbside material using city of Liberty resources and county inmate labor. Liberty will also collect all business and home cardboard, and as a result Liberty would receive 100 percent of the funds the collected recyclables will generate.
In return, the city of Pickens will agree to forfeit its share of municipal curbside and cardboard collection vehicles to Liberty, but still receive its entire portion of capital funds being held by the city of Central in the recycling account. Pickens will still be responsible for the purchase of bins and insurance to customers.
Brackett told council when considering the city of Pickens doing its own recycling, one must consider the expense of a vehicle and the expense of labor and up-keep. By saving the $14,000, it would be a wash as far as any money Pickens would make from the sale of the recyclables, she said. Council voted to accept the agreement for one year.