City rolls out recycling survey, looks for community input
When the City of Craig jettisoned its recycling program in mid-December, the idea was to save some money, reset, and come up with a better plan for the much-needed service within city limits.
Now, the city is involving community members in the next steps to return the popular service, asking residents to fill out a survey regarding recycling to help them formulate a plan to roll out a new recycling service later this year.
City Administrative Assistant Melanie Kilpatrick led the initiative to create the survey, which rolled out the first week of February in the monthly utilities bill to residents.
“The intention with removing recycling was not to do away with it forever, but to gather more information to make it more cost efficient,” Kilpatrick said. “With the survey, we want feedback from residents to see what’s viable for them from a cost standpoint, and from an access standpoint.
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“Would the new program be one that’s curbside, or a one-stop location like it previously was? That’s what we want to find out, and we’d probably need some help to cover the costs,” Kilpatrick added.
When the city announced it was shutting the recycling program down late last year, city manager Peter Brixius told the Craig Press via email that, “The current cost of recycling with labor, mileage, overhead and tipping fees, could be approaching $80,000 annually which partially depends on how many loads are rejected vs. up-charged due to contamination.”
Road & Bridge Director Randy Call added that market forces were behind the increase in costs to taxpayers, which hurt the city’s overall finances.
“It was free before, but these markets have just tanked,” Call said to the Craig Press in mid-December. “Nobody wants recyclables, so that’s why they’re charging. That is the big thing right now, from what everybody tells me. China doesn’t want our trash.”
Shortly after the decision to shut down recycling in the city, Call and Brixius told the Craig Press that they were likely to reach out to residents and see what the interest level was in recycling.
“If the people want to pay for it, we’d have to adjust the rates,” Call said. “But it’d take a lot higher number than what we’ve got in participation here in Craig. They’re actually, at some point, going to do a survey and see how much interest we can get for recycling here in Craig. How many people would actually pay for it?”
Now, Kilpatrick is the driving force behind the survey that was recently sent out to residents. Kilpatrick said the deadline to submit the survey is Feb. 24.
“Once we reach that deadline, then we’ll compile the data and look at the best options moving forward,” Kilpatrick said. “We’ve been working with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council; they helped us put together the survey.”
While the survey was intended for a good cause, the city has received some push back from residents due to the difficulty in filling out the survey. Kilpatrick made the survey a print-driven survey, taking away the option to fill it out online and submit it digitally through the website.
“The thinking was, we hadn’t had a good experience with online surveys in the past, but we knew we’d reach more people with a paper survey,” Kilpatrick said. “It’s definitely a learning experience for us, but so far we’ve gotten a good number of surveys back.”
Kilpatrick added that if people can’t — or don’t — want to print out the survey themselves, they can go to the city’s building where printed forms are available at the front counter.
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