Archive for Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Glass recyling bin to be moved to Baldwin City Market

Baldwin City Hall

Baldwin City Hall

April 8, 2014

The final day for paper, cardboard, plastic and glass recycling bins at the Ottawa Street recycling site will be April 30, the Baldwin City Council was told Monday.

But there was good news for local recyclers. City financial director Brad Smith said Ripple Glass and Baldwin City Market have reached an arrangement that will spot a glass recycling bin in the grocery store’s parking lot.

The council agreed last month the city would stop offering paper, cardboard, plastic and glass recycling bins because of a rate increase 12th and Haskell Recycling of Lawrence was proposing, which would hike the city’s annual cost to provide the bins from $6,000 to $37,000 and because the free roll-off bins competed with the one-year-old curbside recycling program Ottawa Sanitation offers.

Smith said the Lawrence-based recycling contractor has agreed to maintain the bins at the Ottawa Street site just south of the Midland Railway yard through the end of the month. Because the city makes money from metal recycling, a roll-off bin for that purpose will be maintained at the site.

It will cost the city $103 each time the Ripple Glass bin fills and has to be replaced, Smith said. It is estimated it will take about a month to fill the bin, he said.

Baldwin City residents still have access to the Baker University paper recycling bins on the school’s north side between Seventh and Eighth streets, but there no longer will be bins available in the community to recycle cardboard or plastic.

Smith said the city’s residential trash customers would be encouraged to sign up for the curbside recycling service, which cost $4.50 per month. Eight or nine residents have done so since it was announced last month the city would scale back the recycling bins, he said.

In an action involving the city’s electrical utility, the council agreed to authorize the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency to perform a power supply study for the city.

City Administrator Chris Lowe said the move anticipated an action the council would be asked to take April 21, which will terminate the city’s agreement to purchase power from the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. That move is necessitated by BPU’s planned shut down of its Nearman coal-burning generating plant from April 2016 to March 2017 for upgrades needed to make it compliant with clean air standards, he said.

The cost of paying for the upgrades would increase the city’s contractual energy and demand charges by 48 percent, Lowe said. Even worse, the city would be required to pay $2.6 million of the upgrade’s cost based on the amount of power it would receive from the plant through the remaining nine years of the contract.

Those “staggering” numbers could get worse because BPU acknowledges the scope of work could increase once the project started.

With the cost increases, BPU is offering the city the opportunity to terminate its contract, which Lowe said was an easy decision.

“If we don’t make a decision to get out of this contract, you don’t know what you may be stuck with,” he said.

Lowe said he was confident KMEA would identify new providers that could provide the city power at costs comparable with what it now pays BPU.

One possible snag in that desired outcome is that the other city’s with current agreements to receive power from the Nearman plant — Fredonia, Mulvane, Neodeha, Ottawa and Osawatomie — all must agree to vacate their BPU contracts, but Baldwin City power plant manager Rob Culley said they were as anxious as Baldwin City to avoid coming cost increases.

Culley said BPU probably wanted the cities to get power elsewhere because the clean air upgrades would reduce the Nearman plant’s generating capacity.

Contracting with new providers the KMEA identifies provide city customers power without consequences to rates, Culley said.


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