Crying foul over grant funding, the Pike County commissioners have opted to leave the Mark Twain Solid Waste Management District in a letter to that entity and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The commissioners complained that Pike County provides up to half of the funding for solid waste project grants through the public landfill near Bowling Green, but isn’t seeing a return.
The seven-county waste district administered by the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments (MTRCG) makes formal requests for solid waste grants from DNR. It is done for cities, non-profits and the counties of Pike, Ralls, Shelby, Macon, Marion, Monroe and Randolph when they apply.
The district board rejected a Pike County grant request on Nov. 20 for a tire recycling grant of $23,300. However, the district funded several other grants, including one from MTRCG, located in Perry.
“We’re furnishing half the money and not getting any of the benefit out of it,” Presiding Commissioner Dan Miller said last week.
The commissioners were seeking the money to purchase box trailers in which Pike County residents could throw old tires away, according to Western District Commissioner Jim Luebrecht. Luebrecht is Pike County’s representative on the waste district board.
The commissioners wanted to use the trailers to generate money through a recycling program and to later begin a tire-shredding operation that would provide asphalt filler and landscaping material for Pike County.
“We also could have created two new jobs on the county road crew,” Luebrecht said last week.
The Pike County request was rejected because DNR indicated it was too early to fund another tire recycling grant like the one the county landed in 2010, according to MTRCG Executive Director Robin Simpson
The waste district — which is administered by MTRCG — agreed to seek the full $83,000 sought by MTRCG for an electronic and hazardous waste grant for all seven counties. Several other smaller grants were partially funded.
The waste district board members award the grants based on a points system using the criteria of need and how far the benefits reach, Simpson said.
The $83,000 grant MTRCG landed will benefit all seven district counties for electronic waste and five counties for household hazardous waste, Simpson added.
“We don’t allocate money based on just where the waste comes from,” Simpson said Tuesday, Jan. 7.
The Pike County commissioners also complained in their letter that MTRCG included almost $10,000 in administrative costs in the grant it landed.
Simpson confirmed that the administrative costs included $2,900 for her, $3,350 for MTRCG fiscal officer Cindy Hultz, $1,350 in fringe benefits for Simpson and Hultz, $370 in mileage and $1,600 for hazardous waste training.
Those administrative costs will pay for their time to monitor the electronic and hazardous waste collections in the seven counties, Simpson added.
Simpson said she hopes to meet with the Pike County commissioners soon “to get this resolved and move along. I don’t think this will be resolved through the newspaper.”
“At this point we are respectfully asking the state to take a closer look at this situation,” Miller, Luebrecht and Eastern District Commissioner Curt Mitchell said in the letter to the district and DNR. “We are also asking that you allow us to proceed with setting up a new (waste) district, as there is a landfill in our own county and we do not feel the current situation is a benefit to our citizens.”