MOORESVILLE Curbside recycling offered by the town is finally coming to Mooresville this year.
After years of study and pilot projects, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted 5-1 last week to charge a town-wide solid-waste fee of $3 a month to help pay for curbside recycling and such existing solid-waste services as the collection of yard debris.
Mooresville is the last town of its size or larger in North Carolina that doesn't offer curbside recycling, said John Finan, the town's director of public works. All municipalities near the town also offer curbside recycling, he said.
The town expects about 60percent of residents to participate in curbside recycling, based on surveys, Finan told the Mooresville Board of Commissioners. Service could begin in six to eight months, Finan later told the Observer.
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Residents who want to participate in recycling will receive containers in which to place "single-stream" recyclables, meaning they won't have to separate materials by type.
Those who don't participate won't receive the containers but still must pay the new annual $36 solid-waste fee, Finan said. The fee will generate about $390,000 a year, Finan said.
At least half of all N.C. municipalities charge a solid-waste fee, averaging about $10 a month, according to a survey by the N.C. School of Government in Chapel Hill.
Curbside recycling will cost Mooresville about $312,000 annually, compared with the $339,600 that was the lowest bid the town received from a private hauler, Finan said.
Residents won't have to worry about annual price increases that private haulers pass along to customers, Finan said. The town will also have direct control over customer service, he said.
Meanwhile, the town expects to lower the annual cost of curbside recycling to about $255,000, Finan said, with several measures:
Purchasing only the number of rollout containers needed rather than supplying one to every resident. Based on 60percent participation, the town would need 6,000 carts instead of 10,000, saving $200,000, Finan said. That would halve the annual cost of rollouts over 10 years, from $40,000 to $20,000, he said.
Reducing fuel costs by switching to a local recycling facility now under construction. The town estimates it would spend about $25,000 in gas getting to and from a recycling facility in Salisbury. The Mooresville facility will open in about a year, Finan said.
Diverting about 1,200 tons of waste annually from the Iredell County Transfer Station through recycling. At a newly negotiated rate of $10 per ton, the town will save $12,000 a year, Finan said.
Curbside recycling will cost less than other solid-waste services, such as yard debris collection, which costs about $650,000 a year, he said.
Still, Mooresville commissioner Rhett Dusenbury said he voted against the program because it would take jobs from the private sector and add to the town payroll, when Mooresville is trying to cut back. For curbside recycling, the town will have to hire two more workers and also fill a vacant but already funded position, Finan said.
"I guess we know who the Democrats and Republicans are here," Dusenbury told his fellow commissioners after the vote, a swipe at other registered Republicans on the board.
"We are nonpartisan," commissioner Mitch Abraham replied.