Blaine council approves recycling JPA

Blaine councilmembers have approved a new recycling joint powers agreement with Anoka County.

The city’s 2012 recycling goal is 5,147 tons collected.

According to City Manager Clark Arneson, the city is eligible to receive revenues of up to $115,385.

Execution of the JPA will allow the transfer of anticipated funding from Anoka County to Blaine’s sanitation fund.

“This is a pass-through grant agreement with Anoka County,” Arneson told councilmembers Aug. 2.

In 1980, state lawmakers adopted the Waste Management Act. Part of this law required counties to reduce the amount of solid waste that is generated.

As part of Anoka County’s Solid Waste Management Plan, funds are made available to municipalities in order to help fund recycling programs and recycling education

The funds come in part from a 9.75 percent state sales tax on garbage service. “Those dollars come back through Anoka County to the city,” Arneson said.

During discussion Aug. 2, Councilmember Mike Bourke asked City Finance Director Joe Huss to provide the council with a sanitation fund update.

According to Huss, at the end of July, the fund had a $830,000 balance. However, the sanitation fund has lost $315,000 since the beginning of the year, Huss said.

“The five-year outlook is for the fund balance to gradually be reduced,” he said. “We’re looking at fund reductions of $115,000 in 2013, $108,000 in 2014 and almost $100,000 in 2015.”

While the fund is expected to stabilize in 2017, if no rate increases are implemented, Huss said the fund would be depleted in 2014.

Last December’s adopted city budget included graduated rate increases over the next five years, but no increase in the first year (2012) of the five-year plan.

According to Huss, the city did catch a break on tipping fees, the cost per ton the city pays to have garbage dumped.

Tipping fees were scheduled to increase substantially in 2010 to 2011, but Huss said the fees remained the same this year.

“The scheduled increases are substantial over the next four years,” Huss said. “It’s not sure if those fees will be implemented on that schedule, but we are assuming they are. If they are not, we could adjust our rates.”

Last month, the Anoka County Board, acting on the recommendation of its Waste Management and Energy Committee, approved funding for eight recycling improvement projects totaling $245,557.

This is the second year the county has used state local recycling development grant dollars to help cities enhance recycling.

Grant recipients and projects were:

• Andover, $50,000, relocation of recycling center and addition of smaller scale recycling days.

• Anoka, $10,008, household recycling promotion and multi-unit bins.

• Blaine, $25,065, three household mailings (new materials, monthly drop-off and general recycling) and adding additional materials to monthly drop-off.

• Columbia Heights, $50,000, phase two of recycling center improvements.

• Coon Rapids, $25,620, recycling center improvements phase two.

• East Bethel, $29,210, recycling center equipment improvements.

• Lino Lakes, $25,654, in-house and residential recycling campaign plus monthly drop-off pilot program.

• Ramsey, $30,000, permanent drop-off center analysis.

All 21 Anoka County communities were eligible to seek the grant dollars.

(Editor’s Note: Managing Editor Peter Bodley contributed to this story.)

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]