Updated: Nov 18, 2021
After learning that the county's share of a pilot program to provide a recycling trailer to each school district would increase by about $2,200, the Linn County Commission opted to drop out of the program. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
MOUND CITY – On Monday, Sept. 27, the Linn County Commissioners voted to decline participating in a pilot school recycling program that came with a $25,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The program would have placed a recycling trailer similar to the ones at compactor sites at each school district in Linn County.
It was a 25/75 matching grant and according to KDHE the county was supposed to pay a minimum of about $8,300 that had already been approved when the grant was written.
However, Public Works Director Shaun West reported that when he checked on the price of the recycling trailers, the cost was going to be higher and the county would have to pay about $10,500, an increase of about $2,200. Upon learning about the increased cost, commissioners hesitated and decided to think about it until later in the meeting.
West said that he had not had the bid sheets for the trailers but after calling around and getting the bid sheets, he realized that he had given the wrong amount to the commission several weeks ago.
When the grant was written by the Lake Region Solid Waste Authority Regional Coordinator (LRSWA) Shay Hanysak and previous Public Works director Jackie Messer, the commission had been asked to approve the match of $8,300.
Later in the meeting, Linn County Commission Chair Rick James said that the commissioners had come to the conclusion that they were just going to drop the grant and asked West to contact the LRSWA to return it.
Linn County Commissioner Danny McCullough said that he would still like to see the county reach out to the metal shop classes to build the trailers. Previously, West had checked with the shops at the schools and they had said that it was too late to be in their curriculum this year.
West said that maybe that is something the schools could consider at the future training school in Pleasanton.
In an interview on Wednesday, Sept. 29, Hanysak said that Linn County returning the grant from KDHE made her a little bit sad for the missed opportunity. She said having the recycling trailers at the schools was a perfect way to inspire children to recycle.
She said once children learn about recycling, they then take the information home to their parents and the community and the result is less waste put in the landfills. The overall impact of the recycling trailers would have had such a huge impact on waste reduction.
Hanysak pointed out that the schools had committed to providing the educational information about recycling and the time helping children with the project. The LRSWA had hoped to use this program as a model for the other five counties in the LRSWA to set up similar programs.
Hanysak said she was also concerned about how returning the grant money to KDHE could impact Linn County receiving grants in the future. One of the reasons this grant was approved was because Linn County was demonstrating their commitment to recycling with these trailers.
She said that Linn County may not have received this grant if it was not connected to the previous grant that they had received to put new recycling trailers at each compactor site.