WMU offers plan to keep recycling

WMU officials offered a new plan to realign its garbage and recycling collection services in hopes of keeping the recycling program in light of increasing costs.

Winchester Municipal Utilities General Manager Mike Flynn told the Winchester Board of Commissioners Tuesday demand for recyclables is down across the nation as China is buying less and less.

“They’re struggling to have a place for recyclable materials to be taken to,” Flynn said. “What we’re desperately trying to do is hold on to our recycling program and not cause a rate increase or a financial hit.”

Flynn said the utility plans to absorb the costs of the recycling program by realigning its collection schedule and becoming more efficient. Currently, WMU runs five routes for solid waste on Monday and Tuesday and five routes for recycling on Thursday and Friday. The new proposal would divide the city into four areas and four routes. Each collection day, crews would serve one area and collect everything: solid waste, recycling, yard waste and large items, he said.

Collection in downtown and the central business district would not be affected, Flynn said.

The change, he said, would take two trucks off the road, which would reduce expenses and add a second person to each truck on the route, which increases safety and efficiency.

Most residents will keep one of their current collection dates, he said. Instead of putting their garbage can out on Monday and recycling on Thursday, they would put all their cans out on Monday, for example.

“We tried to keep them on one day they are used to,” Flynn said.

The commissioner took no action but Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said there would be a vote during the special meeting on Oct. 23.

The commissioners also approved tax rates for real and personal property for 2018. The board voted unanimously to leave the rate at 14.66 cents per $100 value for real property and 14.99 cents for personal property. Burtner said the rates are the same as 2017.

Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said the rates will generate about $24,000 in additional revenue toward the city’s $17.5 million budget.

In other action, the commission:

— approved street closure requests for the 2019 Rally 4Recovery and retroactively for a rally Sunday on North Main Street.

— set the employee Christmas breakfast for Dec. 18. There will be a special commission meeting at 10 a.m. that day.

— canceled the Jan. 1, 2019, regular board of commissioners meeting. A special meeting will be set at a later date.

— approved the second reading of an ordinance to create rates for large industrial users for sanitary sewer use.

— approved an agreement with the law firm of Linda K. Ain for the renewal of the city’s natural gas franchise.

— voted to hire Vickie Wren as a crossing guard.

— voted to hire Ivana Nance as a patient transfer specialist at Winchester Fire-EMS.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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