SOUTH BEND — The jaw-dropping deficit in the state’s budget is affecting a lot of essential services and Pacific County is immediate taking hits, too, dealing with cutbacks in several programs that have been funded by the state. This includes the county’s recycling and solid waste program, which has been cut by about $28,000, according to Faith Taylor-Eldred, assistant director of the Pacific County Department of Community Development. 

The downsizing will mean that most of the recycling bins in the county will be removed. The bins in Ocean Park and Menlo will remain and in south county, the cities of Ilwaco and Long Beach and the Port of Ilwaco have stepped up to support keeping the recycling bins in their jurisdictions. Peninsula Sanitation has volunteered to pay for cardboard pickup at the remaining drop boxes. Bins will be removed in Raymond, South Bend, Bay Center, Chinook and Naselle. 

Funds that had been provided by a Department of Ecology Coordinated Prevention Grant to pay for bins for recycling cardboard, glass, newspaper, aluminum and magazines went away this month. 

“We had full funding last year for Phase 1 of a two-year grant from DOE,” Taylor-Eldred said. “But for Phase 2 this year, DOE has said unless the Legislature comes up with the funding when they review the budget in April, the county won’t be reimbursed for the recycling programs.” 

Taylor-Eldred explained that the county has partially paid for recycling through “tipping fees” at the county’s two transfer stations in Long Beach and at Royal Heights near Raymond. But without the DOE grant, the county won’t have the funds to continue supporting the bins. “DOE said ‘you can keep the services but we don’t know if you’ll be reimbursed,’” she said. 

The original nine recycling bins cost the county $35,000 a year, mainly for transportation costs, Eldred-Taylor said. So the county “will live off the tipping fees and keep some of the services,” she said. Previously, with the grant, DOE paid 75 percent with the county picking up the remaining 25 percent of the cost. 

It’s not as easy as one might think to find a location for the drop boxes. Taylor-Eldred said there was one at the port in Raymond for many years until people abused the privilege by dropping off furniture, appliances and household garbage. “They finally asked us to find another location,” she said. The city of Raymond has an ordinance against having the bins within the city, and there are no acceptable areas within the city of South Bend. The bin in Menlo is near the fairgrounds and the school, “which keeps an eye on them for us,” she said. 

“We’re hoping to get the word out,” she said. “Maybe someone will step up and say they don’t mind having a drop box in their parking lot, but until then, we’ll just maintain the two bins.” 

The drop box in Long Beach is on Second Street, near the South Pacific County Humane Society Animal Shelter. In Ilwaco, the bin is located just south of the sewage treatment plant at the port. 

Besides the bins, people can take their recyclable materials to the two transfer stations. 

 

Sharps and other waste

Another program that will fall by the wayside is the county’s “sharps” used needle disposal program. As of last month, local pharmacies will no longer be collecting used needles. Taylor-Eldred said that to dispose of the needles in the trash, they should be put in thick plastic containers such as bleach bottles. She advises against using soda containers “because they’re very thin and easily punctured.” There are numerous sites available on the Internet explaining how to dispose of needles by mail, including at www.safeneedledisposal.org/gentypes

The county also will be cutting back its hazardous waste event that collects oil-based paint, poisons, pesticides, oil, gasoline and toxic chemicals. The collections were held on Fridays during the summer months and, “because the grant is gone, it probably will only be open every other week for two months,” Taylor-Eldred said. 

In addition, the county’s solid waste enforcement officer position will be cut to 60 percent. The office is being reorganized with enforcement officer Bob Hazen working only in south county and Dale Little in north county. 

“Solid waste is always an issue,” Taylor-Eldred said. “We get a lot cleaned up through the enforcement program and that’s why we’re keeping it available.” The program includes finding and disposing of abandoned vehicles and appliances dropped off in the woods. 

Residents still will be able to recycle motor oil at the stations in Chinook, Seaview, Klipsan, Naselle, South Bend, Raymond and Menlo. “We hope to keep that going,” Taylor-Eldred said, adding that the company picking up the oil does it at-cost for the county. 

 

Peninsula Sanitation helps 

And Diane Carter, owner and office manager of Peninsula Sanitation, said her company will continue pickup of cardboard and other recyclables at the drop boxes in Ocean Park and Menlo. She emphasizes that only brown corrugated cardboard will be accepted, no waxed, wet or gray cardboard (such as cereal boxes) can be recycled. 

“It was a very difficult decision to remove the drop boxes,” Taylor-Eldred said. “It’s such a great service. But when we don’t have the funds, we had to figure something out. I hope we’ll get the funding returned in the future. Come April, it will be interesting to see what we have funded. I really appreciate what the DOE has done over the years. They’ve funded a lot of great programs. And I thank Ilwaco and Long Beach for taking up the slack.” 

Long Beach City Manager Gene Miles said the city council “wants to maintain the program, so decided to do their best to keep it as long as we can afford it.” 

And Ilwaco Mayor Mike Cassinelli said they didn’t want to lose the recycle bins, “So we’re happy to accommodate the people of the community. It’s not a lot of money and we’re always happy to work things out for the betterment of everyone. When people work together, problems get solved in tough economic times.” The joint agreement is between the city, the port and Peninsula Sanitation.

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