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Goodhue County commissioners approve recycling center changes

Goodhue County Recycling Center

Efficiency at the Goodhue County Recycling Center has been cited as a priority for the County Board this year, and commissioners said they felt they moved toward that goal Tuesday.

The board voted at its last meeting to eliminate textile recycling services at the center. Labor costs for textile recycling reached $9,600 in 2010, while revenue from the process was only $2,600, according to a report from Public Works Director Greg Isakson.

There are many other options for residents to get rid of clothing, he said, including the Salvation Army.

The county also voted to stop collecting florescent bulbs at the Goodhue County Co-op Electric office in Zumbrota, a move Isakson said will save money spent on staff time to pack up the bulbs and make trips to the site.

The county already accepts the bulbs at all household hazardous waste collections and at the center during regular hours, he said, and will continue to do so. Companies such as hardware stores also will take the bulbs.

Commissioners also approved purchasing two bigger recycling boxes for Bellechester and Goodhue. The larger size could mean staff can pick up the recycling every other week instead of every week, Isakson said.

"Cutting down on trips is going to be a big thing for efficiency," Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel said.

The new boxes will cost about $14,500, Isakson said, and the smaller boxes will be moved to other sites to help with high volumes and sorting materials. Funds for the bigger boxes will come from surplus revenue from recyclable sales in 2010.

There is no set date for the changes, but commissioners said they will notify residents before they take effect.

The board also approved moving forward with two maintenance projects -- replacing the lunchroom and office floor and fixing up the parking lot -- carrying forward the project funds that were already in the 2010 budget. The projects were put on hold last fall when the county tried to find a buyer for the center.

Increasing efficiency at the center is a priority, board Chairman Ted Seifert said, whether that means combining county and city services or partially or fully privatizing the program.

Commissioners were generally happy with the measures as steps toward efficiency.

"This is moving in the right direction and creating some efficiencies," said Commissioner Ron Allen, adding that he hopes public works staff will "continue to come back with more tweaks to the system."

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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