The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 5, 2013

Joplin City Council to tackle curbside recycling questions

One council member to ask for recycling OK without election

JOPLIN, Mo. — A member of the Joplin City Council will ask fellow council members to adopt curbside recycling without a special election.

Councilman Mike Seibert said he hopes the council will give his request consideration at its meeting tonight. The council is scheduled to take a formal vote on whether to place the question on the Aug. 6 ballot.

Seibert said he believes much of the public supports the idea of making curbside recycling available. He said the council previously discussed putting the question to a public vote because it was thought that the costs associated with recycling would be much higher. Some council members also thought residents should decide the matter.

Republic Services, the city’s current residential hauler, told the council at a special meeting on April 8 that there are three options for the service.

Weekly pickup of materials eligible for recycling such as plastic, glass and cardboard was proposed at $5.45 a month on top of the existing trash bill of $11.91. But, pickup of recyclables could be done every other week at an added cost of $3.03 a month. The least expensive option is pickup every other week at $1.75 a month extra, but with trash disposal limited to the contents of one cart with no yard waste removal.

The council agreed that the $3.03 option would be preferable because it was less of a raise in rates but with no reduction in service.

Members of the Young Professionals Network at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey at the request of the council. YPN spokesman Katrina Richards told the council at its April 8 meeting that 779 residents answered the survey, which was placed on a website and taken at locations including the Joplin Public Library, the Senior Center and Northpark Mall. Richards said 81 percent of the respondents indicated they would likely use curbside recycling if it were available.

Additionally, curbside recycling was one of the recommendations in the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team plan that was advocated by residents after the 2011 tornado.

City Attorney Brian Head told members of the city’s Solid Waste Advisory Commission at its meeting Thursday that an election vote on the issue would not be binding on the council. He said local issue votes are advisory-only under the city charter and state law.

Council members at the April 8 meeting also discussed election costs. There was an estimate of $24,000 to $26,000.

According to information from the county clerks’ offices, an Aug. 6 special election would cost $32,000 to $33,000 in Jasper County and about $5,500 in Newton County.

Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, resident Linda Lawrence, 2806 N. Missouri Ave., has asked to speak to the council regarding a barrier that is to be built behind a neighborhood that is located next to one of the ramps at the new Main Street-Zora Street overpass. Residents last year had asked the city and the state to erect a barrier to screen the houses from the lights and noise of the overpass, as well as to shield the homes from the possibility that a vehicle would land in yards or houses if there was an accident.

The council will be asked to approve the expenditure of $100,000 for the barrier wall.

Closed session

Tonight’s agenda for the Joplin City Council includes a closed meeting related to a personnel matter and legal action. It will follow the 6 p.m. open meeting at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

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