Eddie Roberson - Ward 6

Eddie Roberson

The idea of a citywide recycling program took center stage once again on Tuesday with Hendersonville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen choosing to both end funding for the city’s pilot recycling program as well as to reinstate a committee to explore the issue further.

A resolution by Ward 6 Alderman Eddie Roberson to implement a citywide recycling program in which residents could opt-in, was discussed at length but was never voted on. 

The city received bids from three companies on three options for recycling a couple of months ago. The lowest bid for a twice-a-month, curbside service was $1.6 million; curbside once-a-month was $1.1 million. Only one of the three companies, Green Village Recycling, bid on an opt-in, twice-a-month program that would give a discount to those who choose to recycle based on the number of people who sign up.  

At least two companies currently offer recycling to residents on a subscription basis, Hendersonville’s Green Village Recycling and EarthSavers Recycling, a Nashville-based company. 

Representatives from both companies addressed board members Tuesday. 

Green Village owner Jason DiStefano urged members to approve the opt-in option. DiStefano pointed to the success of the city’s pilot recycling program as well as the fact that the city moved toward a once-a-week garbage pick-up service in July.

“Many have told us they were under the impression that the city was moving forward with recycling,” he said. 

Although the option is already there for residents through private services like his, 90 percent are not recycling, DiStefano noted. 

“If you do nothing the problem gets bigger,” he said.

EarthSavers representative Bobby Bandy said it wouldn’t be fair for the city to choose one recycling company over another and urged aldermen to vote down the opt-in option. 

“You are giving them an unfair advantage in this community and my business would suffer from that,” said Bandy. 

Opt-in proposal not added to agenda

Ward 6 Alderman Eddie Roberson proposed a resolution that would allow residents to opt-in to a twice-a-month curbside recycling program. Although the resolution was listed on Tuesday’s agenda, leaders failed to properly add it to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Per city ordinance, legislation must go before a committee and then wait two weeks before coming before the board.

Ward 2 Alderman Scott Sprouse pointed out that the item wasn’t properly added to the agenda. City attorney John Bradley concurred. 

“We need to add it to the agenda like we always have,” said Bradley.

Roberson’s proposal for a twice-a-month opt-in recycling service included the caveat that any savings to the city would be returned to participants in the form of a “recycling dividend.”

He asked Bradley to give his opinion on the dividend option.

Bradley said his concern was that the dividend portion was not included in the original bids, and recommended that if the board wanted to approve a program that offered dividends it would need to re-bid the proposal. 

Roberson’s motion to add to the agenda a proposal to rebid the opt-in option with the recycling dividend failed 7 to 6. Nine votes are needed to add an item to the agenda. 

Move to extend pilot recycling fails 

Also Tuesday, Ward 5 Alderman Darrell Woodcock’s motion to extend the city’s pilot recycling program – a program initiated in 2017 that services six Hendersonville neighborhoods – failed 12 to 1. 

Funding for the program ended in July but board members voted to extend the funding for three more months. The program costs roughly $11,000 a month, city leaders were told.

Woodcock’s ordinance would have extended the program until May of next year. 

“I’m doing this for one reason,” he said. “I believe when we get rid of this it will make it that much easier for the board not to implement a [citywide] program. 

The city’s Solid Waste and Recycling Committee recommended the pilot program end in order for the city to be able to negotiate a five-year contract for citywide recycling in May, chairman Debbie Floyd told board members. 

Members voted 12 to 1 to not extend the program. The city’s pilot recycling program will end at the end of this month. 

Committee recommendations

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Public Works Liaison Alana Hibbler gave a report from the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling Committee in which several recommendations were made. They included:

-the city fund and implement a citywide curbside recycling program in 2020.

-the city not implement an opt-in program 

-the city not renew the pilot recycling program

-the city’s public works department gather information about recycling drop-off convenience centers

-the city purchase a leaf vacuum truck for leaf collection

-the city no longer accept yard waste in plastic bags

Aldermen voted Tuesday to reinstate the committee’s term that had expired - until May of 2020. They will give a report and recommendations to city leaders in April. 

Mayor Jamie Clary said after Tuesday’s meeting that he planned to ask the board to adopt a citywide, opt-in recycling program at the next meeting. 

Unlike Roberson’s proposal, Clary said his proposal wouldn’t have the dividend payback. 

“It simply accepts one of the bids that were received for recycling,” he said. 

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