QUINCY -- Following Monday night's meeting of the Quincy City Council, Mayor Kyle Moore issued a warning to Quincyans: Participate in the opt-in recycling program or be prepared to see the program axed in as soon as six months.
"It is now in the residents' hands if the city of Quincy is going to continue to offer recycling," Moore said. "We have had people come to us, who said that they wanted us to continue to stay in the recycling business. So with the opt-in program, they need to get behind this program, sign-up and pay for the program. The program needs to pay for itself, because if at the end of the day we don't have a lot of people signed up and we are continuing to spend $1 million for a few hundred people, then this program will be ended."
Moore said "a couple hundred" Quincyans have signed up for the city's opt-in recycling program.
Moore's comments came moments after the City Council voted to reject a $11,500 bid from Nova Products for 2,000 new recycling bins. The council also voted to table a proposed ordinance to eliminate the requirement that Quincyans sign-up to participate in the recycling program.
Beginning May 1, city residents who have signed-up for the recycling program will be able to continue using the existing orange-colored bins. The bins must display a large decal the city will send by mail in the coming weeks. Those who have signed up to participate in the program will be charged $5 per month.
Those who have not signed up for the program will see their recycling bins collected and not returned to them, according to Moore.
"There are still lots of things to be worked out," Moore said. "There are going to be a number of things with the decals that people are going to have to remember. They are going to have to do some things to get the decal to stick on. We are going to have some instructions when we mail those out."
Among the things needing to be worked out are educational components for both city residents and city employees, Moore said.
"In order for this to be a successful program, then we not only have to educate a community on these changes, but we also have to train our recycle program drivers and different aspects of our staff on these changes," Moore said.
Terri Heinecke, R-7, said she believed the council made the best decision regarding recycling. She also thought Quincyans would welcome the decision made by the council to not purchase new bins at this time.
David Bauer, D-2, echoed Heinecke's comments.
"Buying decals, I feel, is the more economical way to go rather than buying new bins for more than $10,000," Bauer said.
In a joint Central Services Committee and Garbage and Recycle Committee meeting last week, Bauer had proposed the city purchase an 8-inch decal depicting the city's seal rather than purchase the new bins.
Moore said he was one of the people who talked to Bauer about his proposal.
"We are always happy when aldermen come up with solutions," Moore said. He later added that he is not sure how long the city can delay purchasing new bins for the recycling program.
"We only have 400 containers right now and I am not sure what shape the old containers are in and if people are going to want used recycling containers given to them," Moore said. He said discussions on purchasing new bins would likely come after the opt-in program had been implemented.
"This (decision) is a finish for the discussion today, but we are going to take a look at this in six months or a year from now and we may have to go to a Plan B or Plan C, which might end recycling as we know it," Moore said. "I do want to say that this is the end of the conversation for now, but it is imperative that people sign up to recycle."