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HOT SPRINGS -- A $187,759 budget transfer for the recycling center fund is on the Hot Springs Board of Directors consent agenda Tuesday night, an adjustment that will keep the regional Recycling Center operating through the end of the year.

Funding for the Runyon Street facility from an annual state recycling grant awarded to the Southwest Central Regional Solid Waste District will cease at the end of the month, requiring the city's solid waste fund to fill the breach. The district's withdraw from the facility will make it a city recycling center, effective July 1.

District representatives from Clark and Hot Spring counties decided late last year to distribute the recycling grant on a population basis, leaving Garland County with 63% of the roughly $260,000 award. The county's percentage is shared with the city of Hot Springs on a population basis.

Representatives from Clark and Hot Spring counties told the district board in November that continuing to use the grant on a facility that primarily benefited the city of Hot Springs did not make sense, noting the cost of transporting their recyclables to Hot Springs had become cost-prohibitive.

They told the board they planned to use their share of the annual grant to start their own recycling programs. District recycling program costs exceeded the annual state grant by more than $500,000 from 2013-17, the board said.

City Manager Bill Burrough persuaded the board to fund the Recycling Center through June, giving the city time to find an alternative funding source. The solid waste fund will fill the void through the end of the year. The city board's 2019 adopted budget projected $245,967 in Recycling Center expenses.

The $187,759 transfer from the solid waste fund will cover salaries, supplies and the purchase of Recycling Center equipment from the district. Solid Waste Director Randy Atkinson told the city board a baler appraised at $68,000, two forklifts and two loaders were acquired for $59,502. The transfer will also pay the $35,000 the city budgeted for a tie wrap machine it has yet to purchase.

Residential and commercial trash collection fees projected at more than $6.4 million in 2019 are the primary revenue sources for the solid waste fund. A $2.1 million fund balance as of the end of May will pay for the transfer.

The city board adopted solid waste budget projects $8.6 million in expenses against $7.8 million in revenue, leaving about an $800,000 deficit, but the city finance department said it budgets conservatively. Many times projected deficits become surpluses at the end of the year, it said.

Burrough has said other grants may be available to fund the Recycling Center. He has also suggested a commercial cardboard collection fee to subsidize the cost. The city currently provides the service to businesses for free.

Metro on 06/17/2019

Print Headline: Recycling center fund on Spa City board agenda

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