Councilperson Robert Ringhausen (Ward IV) addresses the council on the recycling issue.

Councilperson Robert Ringhausen (Ward IV) addresses the council on the recycling issue.

LOUISIANA – Its good to have options — but it doesn’t always make things easy.

On the thorny question of recycling services in Louisiana and the city’s finances, City Council committees weighed more than a few alternatives at their meeting Monday evening.

The discussion of recycling was spurred by the withdrawal of recycling services from Louisiana at the start of the month. Pike Shop in Bowling Green had previously provided and serviced a recycling trailer in Louisiana free of charge. At last month’s full council meeting, the organization’s director said they would need to charge $275 a month, a change driven by the softening demand for recycled material around the world.

In the trailer’s absence, bags of recyclables have piled up on the parking lot that once hosted the facility.

City Administrator Kelly Henderson said the city would take steps to discourage further dumping.

Council-members were generally reluctant to add the $275 to the city’s already taught balance sheet without offsetting it.

Other alternatives posed challenges. Pike Shop would allow the city to switch to curbside recycling on an opt-in basis — provided the city could demonstrate a sufficient level of interest from residents. But a survey circulated with water bills failed to generate the 100 volunteers Pike Shop was looking for, and that bar has been raised since the survey was conducted.

The city could also opt for universal curbside recycling. That would add $2 to each water bill each month — a price some council members worried would be too much to ask.

Finally, the city might be able to implement a more modest charge on water bills, just to cover the $275 cost of bringing the trailer back. Per a calculation presented to the council by Henderson, it would cost only 18 cents on each water bill to essentially cover the cost.

A larger addition to the bill — of, say 50 cents — might allow Pike Shop to increase the frequency of service to the trailer, Mayor Marvin Brown said. If residents were asked to pay for the service, Brown reasoned, they should be able to rely on it it — something not always possible in the past when the trailer filled up.

City could create park

Finance committee chair Susan Fregeau presented to the council Monday on some of the options for increasing revenue that came up in her conversations with the Missouri Municipal League, which provides support for towns and cities in the state.

A stagnant tax base and rising costs of providing city services has left the council exploring new sources of revenue as an alternative to pushing cuts.

One option she highlighted: a dedicated tax that could go to pay for the maintenance of the city’s parks, as well as Riverview Cemetery.

The money would be handled by an independent park board. The increase would require a majority vote of the public.

The approach, Fregeau said, could address recreational needs in the city, while relieving some of the pressure on the city’s general fund.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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