MOUNT VERNON — County Commissioner Allen Stockberger joined county employee John Alberts to view some overflow at the recycling trailer at Apple Valley on Monday morning. Stockberger’s initial reaction was that it wasn’t too bad, and only a pickup truck load was gathered by Alberts for disposal.
It was only later that Stockberger heard that before he was there, Jeff Harmer of the Apple Valley Property Owners Association had already had a dump truck load removed from the site.
The recycling trailers, located at 113 Hasbrouck Circle at Apple Valley, are picked up three times a week, according to the plan devised by the DKMM Solid Waste District plan serving Delaware, Knox, Marion and Morrow counties’ recycling needs.
“We’ve been severely taken advantage of,” said county recycling coordinator Linda Montgomery, who explained that the DKMM plan will remain in place until a new district plan is negotiated for 2011.
She said that until then, there isn’t any money available for expanding the frequency of trailer pickups at Apple Valley. Montgomery said overflow problems have been seen at the trailers in Fredericktown and Centerburg, too, but nothing compared to the situation at Apple Valley, where the problem has been compounded by the dumping of items clearly marked as nonrecyclable.
But even recyclable items become litter if they are left on the ground, Montgomery said. Harmer agreed.
“A lot of people just don’t realize that if they leave their recycling stacked next to the trailer, that’s littering,” Harmer said in a telephone conference with the commissioners.
Montgomery said the Ohio Revised Code section 3767.32 states that any items left at a recycling site, but not in it, are subject to $500 in fines and sentences of up to 60 days in jail.
Montgomery said the county will begin opening trash bags left on the ground at the recycling trailers to search for addresses of the offenders, and will send them a registered letter informing them of the violation.
“It’s breaking the law if it’s not in the trailer,” Stockberger said.
Montgomery said that in using the county recycling truck to make “cleanup” runs, gallons of employee fuel and hours of employee time are being wasted every month at Apple Valley. Recent logs of Alberts’ time at Apple Valley showed anywhere from one to three hours per month being spent cleaning the recycling trailer site; that does not take take into account travel time and fuel expense.
An additional problem, Montgomery said, is that over the years, more and more nonrecyclable items are being dumped at the trailers. Monday morning’s load included nonrecyclables such as old tires and a garden hose. This problem, she said, combined with the lack of time to sort through overflow, has led to all of the overflow items, including the recyclable ones, being taken to the county landfill for disposal, thus defeating the whole purpose of recycling in the first place.
Montgomery said the situation has developed because Apple Valley is one of the county’s best communities for recycling. As the trailers began filling up in recent years, bins for paper were put in to allow more room in the recycling trailer, but that, too, proved insufficient before long.
According to the DKMM Solid Waste District plan, 90 percent of all citizens have to have the option of having recycling trailers in their townships at least part of the time, but only a certain amount of money is available in the budget. Therefore, even though there may be an overflow in a busy place like Apple Valley, the access required by state law forbids a half-empty trailer being reassigned from a less-busy area such as, for instance, Pike Township, which only has a trailer three days per week.
In other county business, Matthew Kurtz, Knox County Department of Job & Family Services interim director, informed the commissioners that unemployment crept up 0.5 percent in Knox County in the latest numbers available from the state. In October, the county’s unemployment was 8.6 percent; that rose to 9.1 percent in November, slightly below the U.S. rate of 9.4 percent. Delaware and Holmes counties tied for lowest unemployment at 7.2 percent, while Highland County remained the worst in the state at 16.1 percent.
The commissioners re-appointed Chris Cordle to a new term on the Airport Authority Board. This term, Cordle’s second, will commence Jan. 1, 2010, and last for four years. The commissioners also appointed incoming Liberty Township Trustee Gene Phillips to represent the Knox County Township Association to the Mid-Ohio Transit Authority Board. Phillips will be filling an existing term which starts Jan. 1 and lasts until Dec. 31, 2010.