LOUISIANA – City Council voted at its Monday meeting to add a 25 cent charge to each monthly city water and waste removal bill in order to resume recycling service to Louisiana.

For $275 a month, Pike County Sheltered Workshop will once again station recycling bins at a location in Louisiana.

The bins were removed after the workshop told the towns it served in Pike County that decreased global demand for recycled material meant they would begin charging cities to provide and service the bins.

The news came as Louisiana was already working through a budget crunch, and the council determined that they would not be able to add the charge to the city’s budget. City Administrator Kelly Henderson broached the possibility of dividing the cost among the city’s utilitybills at a City Council meeting in September. Another alternative offered by the workshop — curbside recycling — would have added $2 to each bill.

The precise cost of the $275 bill divided among the city’s utility customers was about 21 cents, Brown said, leaving some room if the number of customers declined.

One council member voted against the resolution. Jeffrey Salois pointed to a survey distributed with city water bills last winter gauging their willingness to pay for curbside recycling. The survey failed to generate the support necessary to go forward with the program — a result Salois said was suggestive of how willing Louisiana residents were to pay for recycling services.

“We sent it out to the citizens, we asked for their input, we got their input, and we’re doing the opposite of what their input was,” Salois said.

Brown objected to Salois’s characterization, noting that the survey was distributed before the one-site recycling services were withdrawn.

“The input we got was ‘well, we’ve got a recycling bin now, so why would we want to do anything else,” Brown said.

A recurring concern for council members was the capacity of the bins, which tended to get over-stuffed over the course of the week. Brown told the board that the workshop was willing to pick up twice a week at the $275 a month rate.

“I saw the ‘two’ on [the resolution] and I was, like, ‘yes’,” Councilperson Susan Fregeau said.

Henderson also told the council that the city planned to explore other options for recycling as it solicited bids for solid waste collection, asking bidders to put forward plans for both curbside and collection-point recycling.

“We’ll see if we get any proposals that are affordable with those two things, and how they propose to implement it.

Those bids will be opened before the Tuesday, Dec. 17 council meeting.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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