Craig recycling survey considered ‘incomplete’ following low number of responses
When the City of Craig rolled out its recycling survey in mid-February, it was hoping for a large, diverse number of responses to help make a decision regarding recycling within city limits.
What it didn’t expect was a response rate of just 4.6 percent. That response rate of 4.6 percent (179 survey responses out of 3,900 surveys sent out) has City Council looking to conduct another survey – this time digitally – to try and educate themselves on what the community wants in regards to recycling.
Melanie Kilpatrick, Administrative Assistant to the City Manager, presented the survey’s results Tuesday night at City Council. Kilpatrick led the initiative to create the survey, which rolled out the first week of February in the monthly utilities bill to residents. Residents were given three weeks to respond to the survey.
According to Kilpatrick’s presentation to City Councilors, the 4.6 percent response rate leaves the data incomplete.
However, according to the 179 respondents, 86 percent value having access to recycling and wish for it to continue within the city, while 87 percent say they used the North Yampa facility in some capacity.
Another 73 percent said they were willing to pay to maintain the recycling center, but others said there were concerns with possible added costs or undefined costs.
Should the city bring back the recycling center, the facility would likely be a cardboard intake center only and would be fenced off and staffed to make sure it’s not used incorrectly.
According to Kilpatrick’s presentation, some calculated costs for the facility would be $5,000 for a facility fence, $23,616 for a truck driver, $32,864 for tonnage, $5,000 for marketing and education, and $13,253 for staffing.
That would bring the cost for recycling to about $80,000 per year and does not include overtime for staffing or the truck driver, nor does it include costs for contamination.
Kilpatrick added that a way to help offset some of those operating costs for recycling could be billing utility customers $1 a month, which would bring in roughly $46,800 a year.
The incomplete data makes it tough for council members to make a decision right now on recycling though, Councilman Steve Mazzuca said.
“I just wish we would have gotten more surveys back,” Councilman Mazzuca said. “To base a decision like this off of 4.6 percent is so tough.”
Councilman Chris Nichols echoed Councilman Mazzuca’s comments, suggesting that the city could run another survey, this time electronically, to get a better understanding of what the community wants. A big part of recycling in the community moving forward though, especially if it will be just recycling, will be education to lower contamination costs.
“That’s as important as anything else,” Councilman Nichols said. “Education is huge, and I’m with the mayor on the standpoint that it’s ridiculous hauling waste back and forth, so if we can’t clean up the contamination there’s not point of us doing this again.”
It’s unclear at this time when – or if – a new survey will be sent out digitally to residents, but the city is looking at all options to bring back recycling in a manner that is financially feasible.
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