Ramsey tables decision on recycling center grant

The Ramsey City Council has decided against using an Anoka County grant to study developing a recycling center.

The council Oct. 23 voted 5-2 to table indefinitely using the $30,000 recycling enhancement grant to hire SAIC, Energy, Environment and Infrastructure, LLC of St. Paul to do an analysis, including traffic and materials to be collected, of a full-service, year-round recycling center and to develop a non-site specific plan for the center. Councilmembers Sarah Strommen and David Elvig voted against tabling.

“This is money we don’t need to spend,” said Councilmember Jason Tossey.

The private sector can handle this, he said.

If the council wants to move forward, it should consider using the second bidder, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, for $25,200 and see if the rest of the money can be used for hard costs, Tossey said.

The plan would have to be done by Dec. 31 per the grant. Foth would not have the plan done until Feb. 1, 2013, said Assistant City Planner Chris Anderson.

SAIC was also a better match based on experience as well as being able to met the Dec. 31 deadline, he said.

The analysis would produce critical information if the city decides to move forward with a recycling center, Anderson said.

While using SAIC would take some of the burden off city staff, this should be a private business endeavor, said Councilmember Colin McGlone.

And the same thing could be done with city staff visiting recycling centers in the area with a digital camera, he said.

“We don’t need to spend anyone’s grant money,” said McGlone, who is a licensed waste hauler.

The city sold ACE Solid Waste a piece of property for a similar purpose, he said.

“We have perfectly willing private sector people willing to carry the water for us,” McGlone said.

A city recycling center is not something Ramsey needs, he said.

When he agreed to accept the grant in August, McGlone said he thought it could be used to build a site, not a study.

Councilmember Randy Backous was concerned about a letter from ACE Solid Waste asking the council to table action on the proposal to allow ACE to work with the city and the county.

It makes sense to utilize ACE as a partner, but it gives him heartburn that a third party was able to come in and stop the process, he said.

If the council does go forward with the grant, it would be great to have ACE woven into the process, Strommen said.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]