Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Recycle Hi-Line board members met with the Hill County Commission Monday to discuss funding for a project it has been working on for months: creating a recycling center to serve a tricounty area. Board chair Candi Zion and vice chair Tom Tucker spent about an hour-and-ahalf discussing the idea with the commission, planning an application for government grants to pay for the creation of a recycling center. The center possibly would be housed at the current landfill run by the Unified Disposal Board or at its new landfill being planned east of Havre. The planning is being pushed through for a grant announced by the state Department of Environmental Quality Dec. 11, which has an application deadline Feb. 1. The grant funding is through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, a program of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act administered by DEQ in Montana. The program primarily is designed to provide funding for projects to increase energy efficiency, while creating or sustaining jobs in the process. According to the DEQ Web site, the department is accepting applications for grants totaling up to $8.1 million. The tentative plan discussed Monday is to set collection points in communities in the area served by the Unified Disposal Board in Blaine, Hill and northern Chouteau counties. The material collected would then be transported to the center, where it would be compacted and baled. It then would be stored at the center until enough is accumulated To be shipped off. Tucker and Zion said the initial items recycled would be paper and cardboard, although other items like plastic could be added later. As the lead agency in the application, Hill County would be eligible for up to $200,000 for the proposal. Other entities involved in the Unified Disposal Board, including Havre, Blaine County and Big Sandy, also would be eligible for grants to fund the project. The maximum amount for a group project such as the proposed recycling center is $500,000. Commissioner Mike Anderson said that all of those entities also would be eligible to apply for grants for other projects. Kathy Bessette said she had contacted a Representative of the Havre government to get it involved in the project, and was contacting representatives of Blaine and Chouteau counties. The group also is contacting other communities in the Unified Disposal Board district about the project. Zion and Tucker, who also met with the commission along with Recycle Hi-Line board member Bob Doney last week, worked out a plan of action with the commissioners Monday. The group is detailing what will need to be presented to DEQ in its application, to forward to Bear Paw Development Corp. Bear Paw will help local governments apply for grants, During Monday’s meeting, the group discussed finding more information about what can and cannot be funded through the grant. Anderson said the ideal project would be to build a new building at the new landfill, located about three miles east of Havre. However, that may not be allowed under the program's guidelines, he said. Other possibilities include moving an existing building to the new landfill, or using the building at the current landfill. The group also discussed the possibility of leasing the old IGA building at 15 West 1st St. to use as the recycling center, possibly in conjunction with other uses. Tucker said he has most of the information about prices of equipment, such as compacters and balers as well as buildings that could be built or moved to the site, to submit with the application. “The numbers are the budget,” he said. “It gives us something to put on the line items.” The items to be purchased include the collection bins, which would be located in Havre, Chinook, Harlem, Big Sandy and probably one of the Hill County towns west of Havre. The group is researching having those bins manufactured locally. The plan is to collect the recycled material, then join with other recycling entities like the Havre Day Activity Center, Pacific Recycling and Valley Recycling in Kalispell to ship the material off for sale. Having more material to ship will increase the sale value. “The more tonnage, the better price,” Tucker said, although all at the meeting agreed that the recycling project would not make a profit. It would provide benefits, Tucker said. One will be reducing the amount of trash taken to the landfill, increasing the life of the site as well as decreasing the cost of operating it. That would translate to savings for the people served by the site over time, he said. Along with the obvious benefit of reducing the amount of trash and litter the problems with plastic bags blowing through the countryside was brought up at both meetings it also would help people meet their personal goals and lifestyle of recycling and preserving the environment, Anderson said.