The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 2, 2013

Commission: Vote about curbside recycling would be only advisory

JOPLIN, Mo. — If the Joplin City Council goes ahead with a special election in August asking voters whether to implement curbside recycling, it would be an advisory vote only, members of the city's Solid Waste Commission were told on Thursday.

Council members, in a special meeting April 8, heard a proposal and gave informal approval to hold a special election Aug. 6 on the question of whether voters want to implement curbside recycling.

City Attorney Brian Head told members of the Solid Waste Commission, a city advisory board, that if the council does approve a special election, the ballot question would be framed around instituting curbside recycling service but would not specify a price.

The council favored the pickup of recyclables every other week at a cost of $3.03.

Republic Services, the city's current residential hauler, offered weekly pickup at  $5.45 a month on top of the existing trash bill of $11.91 and recycling pickup every other week for $3.03 added onto the trash bill. The least expensive option was recycling pickup every other week at $1.75 extra but with trash disposal limited to the contents of one cart with no yard waste removal.

Head told the commission Thursday that if the council formally approves the special election, the commission may be called on to talk to civic groups or conduct other activities to explain the proposal.

Commission members should refrain from promoting approval or defeat of the issue so that they do not run afoul of campaign laws, Head said.

Head also said that the City Council is not bound by the vote.

Commission member Richard Vaughan asked if the council could enact it if the advisory vote went against the proposal.

"Politically that would be very tough to do, but yes, they have the authority to do that," Head said.

The council may take up the election question for a formal vote at it's regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

 

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