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County receives $15K recycling grant

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

During a special meeting of Bandera County Commissioners court on Oct. 15, a clearly jubilant Precinct 4 Commissioner Jordan "Jody" Rutherford announced that the county had been awarded a grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority Community Development Partnership Program.
On Thursday, Oct. 22, commissioners formally accepted the $15,000 grant, which will be used to assist recycling efforts in the county. To that end, a portion of the funds will be used to purchase a second baler for installation at a county solid waste disposal station. Any remaining funds will be used for a metal structure to protect the baler from the elements. The metal structure would also be used to protect accumulated recycled cardboard and paper, which, along with plastic, remains a marketable commodity.
Since his election to the court, Rutherford had spearheaded efforts to jumpstart the county's recycling program.
In July, at the request of Rachel Hering, executive director of Cooperative Teamwork & Recycling Assistance, commissioners approved applying for a state grant to help reconstitute the county's recycling program.
At that time, Hering explained that the grant would require a 20 percent match from the county, which could include in-kind services.
At the suggestion of County Judge Richard Evans, the second baler will be installed at the Bandera Solid Waste Disposal Station located at 3028 Highway 16 North, next to Mansfield Park. The location is under Rutherford's direction.
This location, Evans indicated, would serve as a second recycling hub in the Bandera area and be of increasing benefit to more county residents.
During the July meeting, a suggestion was made to "tear down the bad building that's (at the Bandera site) and use the concrete slab for the new three-sided metal structure." The slab already in place would be considered as part of the county's portion of the grant.
And, just to be on the safe side, at least $2,000 of the matching 20 percent has been included in the county budget for fiscal year 2015-2016.
The county's other baler is located at the Lakehills Solid Waste Station at 151 Ohio Avenue, which is directed by Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris. Residents of the Lakehills area have long participated in a robust recycling effort.
According to data, in 2013, the county recycled 88 tons, which increased to 182 tons the following year. "This year recycling tonnage will top 2014," Harris said.
During a future meeting, commissioners will present a business plan to LCRA officials that will explain how the grant will be used to benefit the community.
Additionally, Rutherford will be soliciting assistance from members of the community to serve as recycling volunteers at both the Bandera and Lakehills locations. "We're going to need volunteers to help with the effort," he said. "If one bag of garbage goes into a recycling bin then the county will have to pay for it to be hauled away rather than make money." More information on volunteering will be available shortly.