February 6, 2014

Garbage, recycling takes top priority at council meeting

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — “We need new trucks.”

That was the topic of discussion during Monday night’s city council meeting, when Director of Public Works Steve Edge addressed the council about upgrading London’s garbage trucks and potential curbside recycling.

According to Edge, London currently has three garbage trucks that are all more than 15 years old and are constantly falling apart.  Edge proposed the council consider purchasing two automated trucks with an automated side loader body mounted on each truck.

The new trucks are expected to cost $221,988 each, if they are leased.

In his proposal, Edge justified the purchase by explaining the current manual load trucks collect trash from around 400 residences per day while needing a three-person crew to operate. The new trucks would increase efficiency by reducing the crew to one and allowing for trash pick up at around 1,100 residences per day.

When the city implements automated residential solid waste collections, this will take two employees off of two different truck routes.

“We will be able to use these four employees in the Recycling Department,” Edge said in his proposal.  “This will help with the extra volume of recycling that we will be required to separate, process and market.  The balance of the extra labor required can be made up with work release labor and part-time or temporary employees.”

Edge said he estimates the new trucks could save the city as much as $12,000 per month in tipping/dumping fees plus whatever the city would be able to bring in through the sales of recycled materials.

In addition to the two new trucks, Edge recommended the purchase of 2,300, 95-gallon Herby Curby Carts, which would be required at each residence to convert the existing trash pickup system to an automated system.

According to his presentation, the trash carts cost $50.40 each. With freight charges, it would cost $119,920 for the upgrade to be complete.

At the same price, it would cost an additional $146,120 for the city to purchase the 2,800 Herby Curby Carts needed for each residence to have cans for recycling purposes.

To completely upgrade the existing trash pickup system, it will cost the city more than $700,000.

However, Edge believes the savings in dumping fees and revenue created through the sales of recycled products will offset that price.

“The two trucks we are converting average 15 tons a day to the landfill at a cost of $30.57 per ton; that equals $458.55 per day,” Edge said.  “Recycling will take half of that out of the landfill and let us sell it as recyclable products.”

Both Edge and Mayor Troy Rudder expressed their hopes that a curbside recycling program could reduce current dumping fees by as much as 70 to 80 percent.

When asked by councilmember Jim Hayes how soon the council could vote on a proposal, he was told it would officially be put on the agenda for the March 3 London City Council meeting.

Also discussed during the meeting the council approved second reading of an ordinance regulating the use of Off-Premise and On-Premise Signs (billboards) for Cellular Transmitting Devices.

The new ordinance comes in response to requests made by representatives from Appalachian Wireless to add cellular antennas to a specific billboard on Ky. 192 in London.

The six cellular antennas and one microwave dish requested to be added to the billboard would improve cellular reception inside buildings and serve as Appalachian Wireless’ only cellular antennas positioned facing the fronts of shopping centers in London.

The council also approved:

• A March 15, 5K run to help Hazel Green Elementary School with fundraising; the time and location of the run will be released at a later time.

• A second reading of an ordinance changing the name of Nami Plaza Street to Fortress Properties Street.