County tables decision on recycling plan
By JORDAN GRUCZA
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Tuesday evening’s Macoupin County Board meeting was mostly taken up by the discussion brought about by a potential contract with BLH Computers which proposes that the county pay for the recycling of electronics and cardboard as a free service to residents.
Brian Dickerson of BLH Computers explained the five-year contract with Macoupin, which would pay $20,000 a year for the service. Board member Todd Armour said that the Economic Development Committee had agreed to propose to a buy-in from other communities, for the benefit of residents.
“So we would be on the hook for $100,000, then?” said board member Dave Thomas. “What are our other options?”
“I’ve read the contract and it looks like a good, standard contract,” said Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson. “However, about a half hour before the meeting, I had heard the committee was thinking about municipalities contributing, which is fine if that’s what the committee wants to do.
“But that’s not what the contract says,” Watson said. “So if that’s what the committee is looking at, then this is not the contract we should sign. I would also indicate that this contract does not give incentive for other municipalities to participate because the county is already locked into doing it and it’s already available to the other municipalities to use for free. There is not going to be a way to police them using it and charging them unless somebody from the county is going to be in charge.
“So you would either need to think of it as a service that you’re providing for everyone in Macoupin County,” Watson said. “Or you table it a month and talk to the municipalities and then finalize it after.”
Dickerson explained that in theory, Macoupin could have the funds come from anywhere and that the contract is flexible.
“If you wanted to bill Carlinville, you can,” said Dickerson. “Your citizens only get it free of charge because you grant that. If you say, ‘Don’t do that, charge this fee,’ we can still charge the fee and reimburse or hold until the $20,000 is met for the fees then give it back or however you decide to do it.
“We can stop the fee or we can lower the fee to $10 if you want,” Dickerson said. “We have the ability to make those changes on the fly. It’s fine if you want to put a phrase in the contract that allows us to adjust that. Our goal is that, since we are purchasing real property, make real improvements to the building and hire real employees to work there and be able to keep the program going, we require a commitment in order to cover at least some of the costs.”
“I appreciate the spirit of the contract,” Watson said. “But I look at this in legal terms. In legal terms, if you sign it, I don’t see how we can start charging people next year, without somebody wanting to sue.”
Despite Dickerson’s point about time constraints regarding the purchase of the building, the board agreed they had too many questions and voted 18-0 to table the matter for a month.
In other actions, Peggy Garrison of the Macoupin County Public Health Department reported that flu vaccines are still available and recommends that everyone gets one, as there has been a recent increase in positive tests for the flu in the county.
The board also approved a contract with the Emergency 911 Board to take care of all duties of Emergency Management Agency after the departure of coordinator Jim Pitchford, who retired last month.
Board chairman Mark Dragovich said that there would be savings for the county as there would no longer need to be funds for retirement or insurance costs for a new employee and that the title of the vehicle used by Pitchford would be transferred to the 911 Board. Dragovich said it would also help 911 spread their overhead, as their funding has been reduced over the years.
The board approved the contract with 911 in an 18-0 vote.
The council also unanimously approved the reappointment of Randy Darr to the Central Macoupin Rural Water District Board for a five-year term expiring April 30, 2020, as well as the appointment of John Mansfield to the Central Macoupin Rural Water District Board for the unexpired term of John Bunk expiring April 30, 2020.
The next County Board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 6 p.m at the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department.