Recycling trailers were back on the agenda for the Custer County Board of Supervisors as citizens, school officials, and city officials brought their concerns to the board during the meeting on Tuesday morning.
Ansley City Clerk Lanette Doane asked the board to reconsider their decision from the November 30, 2021 meeting where the board voted 5-1 (Supervisor Bobby Myers was the lone dissenting vote) to require communities to bring the recycling trailers to the Custer County Recycling Center. During the November meeting, Supervisor Dwain Bryner suggested that each community bring the trailers to the Center to help reduce some of the travel costs.
On Tuesday, Lanette said she had concerns from the Ansley City Board regarding liability and the current budget. She said the city is only a quarter of the way through the budget and has not budgeted for someone to take the trailers to Broken Bow. When talking with their insurance provider for the city, Lanette stated to be covered there would need to be covered for anyone transporting the trailers, but the county would also need coverage on the trailers as they belonged to the county.
Another concern that was brought up was rural use vs. city use and who is shouldering most of the cost. Lanette stated there were a lot of ranchers and farmers who use the trailers from the rural area and if the city were forced to pay someone to transport the trailers, the city may be paying for a service not only used by those in the city. She commented that recycling is a service provided to all and it will likely continue to cost the county money, but if it is what is right for the environment we need to continue to support it.
Ansley Public Schools representative Lisa Miller and Ansley student Chancy Hoblyn-Bittner said the school uses the recycling trailer by the school a lot, especially for cardboard. According to Lisa, the trailer is picked up only once a month and is often full due to the amount of cardboard. Chancy said the student council, who is in charge of the recycling at the school, takes a lot of pride in recycling and doing what they can to make sure as much material is recycled. She noted her family, who lives in Mason City, drives to Ansley to take advantage of the recycling trailer as many families from around the area do.
Sargent City Clerk/Treasurer Gwenda Horky said they have not budgeted for someone to haul the trailer to Broken Bow. She said it is always being used and is often full showing that there are a lot of people in the area that realize recycling is very important.
“We all struggle trying to get budgets, to get money to do all the important things, but there are a few things as a city, as a county, and as a state that we are going to have to do that isn’t going to pay for itself,” said Gwenda.
Supervisor Bryner said the recycling has losses around $150,000/year and the board is trying to find ways to cut some of the costs as they do with every department. Recycling Manager Kelly Flynn argued the statement and said in the past twenty or so years there has only been one time where losses were that high. Supervisor Barry Fox stated the losses are around $115,000-$120,000/year on average and this year revenue is up.
Supervisor Fox stated he would like to see more community support in regards to the recycling center and the trailers. He hoped that if the communities could bring the trailers it would allow the workers at the center to have more output and spend less time traveling from community to community. He affirmed that the board is not looking to close the center, but is looking for ways to reduce the cost and be as efficient as possible with tax payer money.
No action was taken regarding the topic.
Custer County Emergency Manager Mark Rempe talked with the board on a number of items including training software, permission to request text-to-911 from the state, 911 mapping contract renewal, and dispatcher salaries which was discussed in executive session. Also approved by the Supervisors was Custer County joining the East Central Region as part of a backup system for emergency communications. The contract for the current equipment and services was coming to an end and Rempe stated this was a much cheaper option that would allow a lot of savings for the county. It would also create a backup that would allow emergency communications in Columbus to take over 911 calls if a situation required them to do so. The Supervisors approved the contact unanimously.
Also approved during the meeting was mileage rate increases to 58.5 cents per state statute, appoint Custer County Extension Board member in District V, direct County Highway Superintendent to conduct a road study, posting load limit signs and allowing permits to exceed the limits, and set the salary for elected officials beginning in the 2023 term (details below).
The next Custer County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25 at 9 AM.