Recycling district exploring changes

Friday, October 12, 2007

The West Central Solid Waste District, operators of recycling centers in Putnam and nearby counties, is about to shrink by a quarter.

Morgan County officials have decided to pull out of the district as did Hendricks County three years ago. The remaining counties, including Putnam, Montgomery and Parke, have determined to go on providing recycling programs, including the very popular Tox-Away Day, in spite of the absence.

This week, officials from those three counties met in Greencastle to discuss the future of the district and make plans for moving forward when Morgan County falls off - taking a significant amount of revenues with it - at the end of this year.

So far this year, Morgan County has contributed just more than $100,000 toward its membership in the district. Putnam County has contributed $77,909, followed by Montgomery with $56,000 and Parke with about $26,000. There was no talk about how the district plans to meet its financial obligations without Morgan County's contribution.

Members of the recycling board, which includes Greencastle Mayor Nancy Michael and Putnam County Commissioners Gene Beck and Jim Baird, seemed determined to keep offering the services that residents of the district have come to enjoy over the years.

This includes Tox-Away Day at the Putnam County Fairgrounds, the Greencastle Yardwaste Recycling Center, rural recycling depositories in Roachdale and Cloverdale, in addition to educational programs provided in each of the county's schools.

Education about recycling and programs that allow people to recycle, were at the top of the priority list discussed at the meeting.

"What we have to do is learn about recycling," board member Don Peterson, Montgomery County, said. "That, to me, is a big thing."

Other programs and services offered by the recycling district include Christmas tree collection, educational material for schools and civic organizations, adult education, small business recycling assistance, and a curbside recycling. Board members are currently working to prioritize the items on that list.

They are also continuing to meet frequently as they try to move forward and restructure the district.

To find out more about recycling and the recycling district, visit their website at www.westcentralswd. com Their office is located in the courthouse annex in Greencastle.

One other topic addressed at this week's meeting was the Greencastle Yardwaste site located across from Greencastle Middle School. With Ivy Tech set to begin constructing its new campus on that site next year, recycling officials have decided to move it to the Putnam County Highway garage.

Construction has begun and officials hope to begin operating out of that site next spring. The yardwaste site will close for the season Nov. 10.

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