Charleston council passes single-stream recycling bill
City residents will no longer have to separate their recyclables. Charleston’s City Council passed Monday night a single-stream recycling bill intended to make the process easier.
Greg Sayre, who represents the West Virginia Association of Waste Haulers and Recyclers, again spoke against the measure during Monday night’s city council meeting. While he acknowledged the benefits of single-stream collection of recyclables, he said he is concerned about their processing. Sayre also said George Hunyadi —owner of West Virginia Recycling Services at Slack Street — is linked to now-bankrupt Pittsburgh Recycling Services. The Pittsburgh company owned a now-closed recycling center with $3 million in debt, including $100,000 to the City of Pittsburgh, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“My concern is there is a, or has been, a legal relationship that the owner of Pittsburgh Recycling Services, Mr. George Ward, is the founding member of West Virginia Recycling Services, the company on Slack Street,” Sayre said.
Hunyadi took over the Slack Street operation from the Kanawha Solid Waste Authority last year.
The Solid Waste Authority shut the program down in March 2012 because of health and safety concerns in the 100-year-old building where they sorted recyclables.
Councilwoman Kasey Russell, who is also a board member for the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority, said she didn’t think Hunyadi and Ward had done business together for a number of years.
“George Ward has been in the state once to my knowledge,” Russell said. “They have severed their relationship. He’s never been in the Slack Street facility to my knowledge. He hasn’t been in Charleston since 2012.”
Mayor Danny Jones addressed council and spoke of his time as an employee in the city’s refuse department when Charleston started collecting separated curbside recycling.
“The one thing I noticed was that the area was a lot cleaner when we brought it in separate,” Jones said. “And that’s what I hope the new West Virginia Recycling will keep in mind. I’d like for it to be processed when it comes in and not turn that place into a landfill.”
Councilman Cubert Smith was also critical of Hunyadi and brought up his relationships with other organizations and recycling.
“How can he run a recycling company when CAMC has already fired him — the largest producer of recyclables in the city,” Smith said on the floor. “Waste Management has fired him, because he hasn’t paid them.”
Councilman Robert Sheets voted for the bill, but “with caution.”
“Once we go single-stream, do we have a second place to take single-stream if the recycler over here at the solid waste goes belly up?” Sheets asked.
Russell said a recycler in Raleigh County the city used around the time Slack Street shut down takes single-stream recycling. A recycling facility in Nitro wouldn’t take the city’s recyclables even when they were separated, Russell said.
Smith asked that council members table the bill, but it passed despite the request. Smith and Councilman Bill Kirk voted against the measure. Kirk and Smith have both spoken publicly against the measure in committee meetings.
In addition to taking single-stream recycling, the city will also pick up cardboard. The city would also stop distributing recycling containers as of June 1, allowing residents to use clear plastic bags instead. An amendment was made last week that would let those with recycling bins continue using them if they wanted.
In other business, council:
n Approved the submission of an annual action plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
n Approved a grant submission to the Office of Economic Opportunity for the 2014 Emergency Solutions grant program. The grant would provide maintenance, operating expenses and essential services, among others to: Covenant House, Kanawha Valley Fellowship Home, Rea of Hope, RCCR-Samaritan Inn, Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, YWCA Sojourner’s, YWCA Resolve Family Abuse and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development.
n Approved a grant application for $48,000 to the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to purchase interoperable radios for the Charleston Police Department. The city will also submit to DMAPS an application for $52,000 for wi-fi hotspot hardware, in-car cameras and SWAT equipment for the police department.
n Approved a grant application to the U.S. Department of Justice for $575,000. The funds would provide for the demolition of dilapidated buildings in the city’s Drug Market Intervention area on the West Side.
n Allowed the city to use a $53,000 grant from DMAPS for a generator at Cato Park.
n Changed an order to Swank Construction Company, LLC, for repairs on the Farnsworth Drive Bridge rehabilitation project. The order increased from $625,213 to $634,830 because repairs are needed for a concrete parapet, and a pedestrian fence needs to be replaced.
n Increased the order for repair of the Observatory Road slip project from $60,000 to $75,600. The extra money will allow excavators to remove loose soil and revegetate the slope to protect properties below the slip.
n Approved $27,250 to GAI Consultants in order to develop a master plan for Slack Street Plaza.
n Approved $49,700 to TRC Engineer for the design and contract administration for a Magic Island Overlook, which would be at the end of bike lanes that are part of the Kanawha Trestle and Bikeway System.
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