City to procure recycling carts

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Contributing Editor

During its meeting last week, the Washington City Council amended the city’s budget ordinance to provide $100,000 in matching funds to help buy recycling roll-out carts.
“We are currently looking into piggybacking opportunities for the purchase of these carts and should be bringing such a proposal to Council with the next two (2) months,” reads a memorandum from Allen Lewis, the city’s public-works director, to the mayor and council members.
In November 2009, the council gave the OK for the Public Works Department to pursue a grant that would allow the city to switch from bins to roll-out carts for its curbside recycling program.
Earlier in 2009, the city learned that the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance is administering the grant program through the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund. With the city receiving the grant, DPPEA will reimburse the city at a rate of $25 per roll-out cart, which is about half the cost of a 65-gallon roll-out cart, according to Lewis.
City officials believe the roll-out carts will be more efficient and easier to handle than the bins.
In other business, the council authorized the city manager to enter into an engineering agreement with Rivers and Associates Inc. to perform engineering and other services for drainage improvements in the city.
In May, the council voted 4-1 to pursue spending nearly $4 million on such improvements in the Jack’s Creek basin.
To pay for the projects, the city is looking at using $4 million of the nearly $6 million in Economic Recovery Zone Bond capacity awarded to the city by the N.C. Department of Commerce. Of the $4 million the city is looking at spending, $42,000 would be used to replace the roof at the city’s headquarters fire station at the corner of North Market and Fifth streets.
Voting for the measure were council members Ed Moultrie, William Pitt, Gil Davis and Bobby Roberson, who made the motion to pursue issuing the bonds. Councilman Doug Mercer cast the lone dissenting vote. The vote does not obligate the city to issue bonds or spend any money on the projects.
Economic Recovery Zone Bonds are another tool that local governments may use to enhance their economic-development efforts. Issuance of such bonds does not require a referendum. Economic Recovery Zone Bonds are a form of Build America Bonds. The city was allocated $4,475,000 in bond capacity for stormwater drainage improvements.
About nine years ago, an engineering study identified about $12 million in projects that would help alleviate the city’s drainage problem in the Jack’s Creek basin.
In other action, the council amended the City Code to allow law-enforcement officers to ride bicycles on the Stewart Parkway promenade and the waterfront boardwalk while performing their official duties.
The Washington Police Department has implemented a bicycle patrol in the Harbor District.
Police Chief Mick Reed, in a memorandum to the council and mayor, wrote that allowing the officers to ride bicycles in that area “will allow the officers better interaction with the citizens and the ability to move more freely and efficiently.”