Lyon County approves curbside recycling contract

MARSHALL - Curbside recycling pickup will continue in Lyon County for the next year-and-a-half — but on a different schedule than in the past.

“We are looking at every other week,” said Lyon County Environmental Administrator Roger Schroeder. “That will be quite a change,” Schroeder said, but so far most of the feedback he had received said the schedule seemed reasonable to help keep costs down.

In a special meeting Tuesday morning, Lyon County commissioners approved a contract with Southwest Sanitation for biweekly recycling pickup from Nov. 1 through April 2021. Under the new schedule, recycling will be collected every other week, starting with the week of Nov. 3.

The vote to approve a recycling agreement with Southwest Sanitation had been postponed from last week’s county board meeting when commissioners didn’t have a quorum to act on the contract. Commissioner Rick Anderson was away from Lyon County and couldn’t attend the meeting, and commissioners Steve Ritter and Gary Crowley said they intended to abstain from the vote due to conflicts of interest. Both Ritter and Crowley have family members who are part of Southwest Sanitation.

At Tuesday’s special meeting, Schroeder went over the proposed recycling agreement.

“We’re looking at a start date of November 1,” Schroeder said. The contract would run through the end of April 2021, with an option to extend the contract up to five years. The agreement would have a base monthly cost of $30,716 for the county. Beginning in 2021, payments to the contractor would be increased each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index.

Schroeder said the county could draw on reserve funds to help cover cost increases, as well as reviewing the possibility of increasing costs to taxpayers.

The contract also gives Southwest Sanitation the ability to refuse recycling carts with improper materials. Southwest Sanitation may tag a refused cart to notify residents to improve their recycling practices. After receiving two warning tags, a customer may be removed from recycling service.

Along with the recycling contract, commissioners were also presented with a list of recyclable materials that will be accepted. The list included paper, newsprint, cardboard, glass and metal containers, and #1, #2 and #5 plastic. However, Schroeder noted that shredded paper will no longer be accepted for curbside pickup or in recycling bins. The Dem-Con recycling facility in Shakopee that takes Lyon County’s recyclables can’t handle paper shreds in single-sort recycling, he said.

Lyon County does accept bags of shredded paper at the environmental department at 504 Fairgrounds Road in Marshall.

“We stockpile it and bale it,” so it can be recycled, Schroeder said. “But shredded paper cannot go in the curbside containers anymore.”

Schroeder said the environmental department is creating a disposal guide for county residents, which will be available on the county website. He said the county will also mail out copies of the guide on request.

Commissioners voted in favor of the agreement, with Ritter and Crowley abstaining.

Once the contract is signed, information on the recycling proposals the county received will become available to the public, county officials said. At previous meetings, commissioners did not discuss or release the details of the proposals, other than that Southwest Sanitation’s proposal was recommended by the environmental administrator. Crowley said he had gotten a lot of questions from members of the public about the situation.

The only other item on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting was to hire a recycling truck driver to serve the recycling drop sites in Lyon County communities. At previous meetings, commissioners had voted to purchase new county recycling bins, which Schroeder said would be arriving starting this week.

Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of hiring Ryan Schulte as a recycling truck driver. The position would have a starting wage of $19.61 an hour, and would start around Nov. 5. Commissioner Ritter cast the dissenting vote.